Hush little sister,
you are going to scare them away.
Who? I asked,
As the clock stroke twelve and we were awake.
Darkness surrounded, the weather was cold
A sudden aroma, heavenly unfurl.
What was happening? I was in awe.
The Queen of the Night,
She is here, she told.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum – Kadupul Flower
Sri Lankan mythology is quite fascinating. The story that surrounds the Kadupul flower, also known by the names of Queen of the Night, Flower from the Moon, Flower from the Heaven, Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus stole my interest with no second thoughts. Having a Kadupul plant at the back yard I stayed up one day with my best friend and entire family to watch it blossom as this flower blossoms at night and dies as the sun arise. Thus watching this fascinating flower blossom with everyone I hold dear to me was a special experience.
As we awaited, my father spoke of it’s mythological legend. According to Mahvamsa, Sri Lanka was ruled by the Yakka and Northern Naga tribes before the arrival of vijaya. The Naga tribes were aboriginal inhabitants.They were said to have their establishments and ruling in the coastal districts of mostly the Western and Northern Ceylon, Jaffna peninsula in particular from the 6th century BC to 3rd century BC. There were three Naga Kingdoms as Wadunnagala (Kalpitiya) ruled by a Naga King called Choolodara, Samudra Naga Bhavana (Nagadeepa) ruled by a Naga King Mahodara and Kelani (Kelaniya) ruled by a naga King called Maniakkhitha as seperate Naga communities.
As myth, the Naga tribe were people who were considered to be descending of the Nagas (serpents), thus they were considered supernatural beings in form. They were capable of taking forms and shapes according to their preference and at will.
The flower Kadupul, is a flower dedicated to the Nagas. It is said to decent from the Naga loka (The world of Naga people). Thus Kadupul was known as a flower of the supernatural, belonging to the supernatural. The unique properties of the flower witness to it as it spreads a sensational fragrance which makes one feel like it is indeed out of this world. It is a beautiful white / off white flower that blossoms at night when all things human is at sleep and dies with the rise of the sun. It is said as it blossoms (in the night as all lay asleep) the Nagas come down raising to celestial abodes to offer the flower to the Buddha at Sri Pada.
In the Sri Lankan context, many believe offering such flower to Buddha is a blessing as it requires an extra effort and commitment .