Yakku To Watch Out For This Halloween

A list of Mythical beings we tend to forget when it comes to choosing a costume during Halloween.

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We all grow up with it. 

"A woman in a white saree holding a baby in the dark is called Mohini."

"Days you don't go near wells because the Kalu Kumaraya will get you."

Sound familiar? yeah, thought so. But somehow, we always manage to forget them during Halloween. So, on this halloween, here are a few yakas to remind you that there are other options other than corpse brides and Dracula in the book of costumes. 

1. Mahasona 

To those of you who don't know who Mahasona is, he's recognized as the most fearsome demon in Sri Lankan folklore.

Ritigala Jayasena (Mahasona's name from the glory days) was the undefeated champion of King Dutugemunu's entourage of giants (Dasa Maha Yodhayo). It is said that no man who had ever challenged Jayasena managed to escape unscarred or even alive for that matter.

How he became one of the most feared mythical beings started off due to a conflict between him and another giant - Gotaimbara. Gotaimbara's wife was very beautiful and he believed that Jayasena was trying to flirt with his wife, which led him to challenge Jayasena into a dual. According to Mahãvamsa, Gotaimbara had decapitated Jayasena by a single kick to the neck. 

It's believed that Jayasena's friend Senasura replaced Jayasena's lost head with the head of a bear, which brought Jayasena back to life as Mahasona - a demon with three eyes and four hands. How? we do not know.

However, it's possible that the legend of Mahasona was created simply to scare off grave robbers. He is also said to be found in the middle of crossroads. Legend states that he has the ability to change into a black dog, which is probably why people in rural areas didn't keep black dogs in their houses back in the day. 

2. Riri Yaka 

Riri Yaka or The Blood Demon is more like a Sri Lankan version of the vampire in the western culture. However, his power is considered a close second to Mahasona. 

Born in India, Riri Yaka was a perfectly normal baby who was loved by his parents. But, as he grew up, he started drinking animal blood and this unusual habit made the villagers treat him like a demon boy which he eventually did become. 

The Riri Yaka is easily identifiable by his red skin and the ape-like face. When there's someone who is suffering from a blood-related illness, villagers believed that it has something to do with Riri Yaka. 

3. Mohini 

This is probably the easiest costume to pull off during this Halloween because all you need is a white sari, an insufficient number of pins to hold it up, and a doll.

Mohini is a spirit that is said to take the form of a very beautiful woman in a white sari who can be found in the middle of the night with a child in her hand. After a typical conversation with her, she'll most likely ask you to hold her child while she fixes her sari. She's supposed to try and seduce you and then scare the living daylight out of you after she has gained your trust. That's just the first step. 

From falling under her spell and sleepwalking to her killing-trap in the middle of the night, stories about what Mohini can do to you are possibly endless. However, it has been a practice in many houses in the village parts of the country to have gunny bags soaked in cold water scattered around the room where the poor young man under the spell of Mohini is sleeping. It's a method to prevent the said young man from sleepwalking. 

4. Kalu Kumaraya

The male counterpart of Mohini, the Kalu Kumaraya's origin is unknown. Some say that he's from India. Some say he's a prince from Sri Lanka. Who he truly is, we will never know.

The popular myth is that he's an illegitimate prince who lived during the Anuradhapura kingdom. He was the son of King Puchothala and a common woman and he later grew up to be one of the finest fighters at that time. After one of the battles against the soli rebellions, he was sent to locate two kids who were kidnapped by the soli people. During this mission, he ended up in a town where the entire population is made from soli women. He was captured by them, tortured and later killed mercilessly. 

Angered by this, he was reborn as a demon called Kalu Kumaraya, who is still lurking around wells and lonely corners of the village to take his revenge on any woman he ever sees. There are a ton of theories on what happens when Kalu Kumaraya meets a woman, but the most popular version is that he convinces the woman to have intercourse with him and then convinces her to plead for him to slit their throats while in its process. Other stories state that if he encounters a pregnant lady, he can kill the unborn baby from a single touch on her belly.  

Either way, he's supposed to be tall, dark and handsome so, forget Dracula, be Kalu Kumaraya.

5. Bodilima

Yep, this Halloween, we want you to scare your friends while dressed up like Rango.

Bodilima is a scary mythical creature in Sri Lankan folklore, mostly because of the grotesque noise it makes in the middle of the night. It is believed to be a female demon preying on men due to the injustice of her origin. A long time ago, a woman who died during childbirth and her fury at her husband who abandoned her during her labor now seeking revenge on all men.  

Her choice of prey is said to be men who are going to check out their crops at night. It is said that she lands on the man and scares him to the verge of death by scraping him. 

6. Maha Kola Sanni Yaka 

Originated during the time of Buddha, he was born as his mother was executed by the king for committing adultery. Legend says that he grew up feeding on his mother's corpse, and sought vengeance on the king for killing her. As a result of that, he destroyed cities with the help of eighteen lumps of poison that he created and charmed, which later turned into demons.

The 18 demons are said to depict 18 kinds of illnesses - with one representing stomach diseases, another would represent water diseases. In order to cure someone from a disease created by this demon, one should go through an exorcism process called thovili. 

7. Ulama

Once, long ago, a jealous husband, tormented by thoughts of his wife's infidelity, decides to take revenge on her. One day, when his wife isn't at home, he strangles their only son and uses his flesh to make a curry for his wife. His wife who sees a finger in the curry recognizes it as that of her son and runs into a forest screaming for her dead child and dies. She was later born as a Ulama, a female demon with a terrifying cry.

Its cry meant to signify death or something unpleasant happening in the future. Even now, many shudder at the cry of this bird as it sounds like a distressed human.

So, there you have it. Seven of the scariest legends in Sri Lanka which people still believe in. So it's bound to be scarier than the usual corpse bride, so I suggest you try it out.