Bamboo is a part of the world’s creation myths and religions
Several cultures (Philippine, Malaysia, Japanese, Polynesian, South American) believe humanity emerged from a bamboo stem.
In Philippine mythology, one of the more famous creation accounts tells of the first man, Malakás (“Strong”), and the first woman, Maganda (“Beautiful”), each emerged from one half of a split bamboo stem on an island formed after the battle between Sky and Ocean.
In Malaysia, a similar story includes a man who dreams of a beautiful woman while sleeping under a bamboo plant; he wakes up and breaks the bamboo stem, discovering the woman inside.
The Japanese folktale “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” (Taketori Monogatari) tells of a princess from the Moon emerging from a shining bamboo section.
Hawaiian bamboo (‘ohe) is a kinolau or body form of the Polynesian creator god Kāne.
In a Chinese legend, the Emperor Yao gave two of his daughters to the future Emperor Shun as a test for his potential to rule. Shun passed the test of being able to run his household with the two emperor’s daughters as wives, and thus Yao made Shun his successor, bypassing his unworthy son. After Shun’s death, the tears of his two bereaved wives fell upon the bamboos growing there explains the origin of spotted bamboo. The two women later became goddesses Xiangshuishen after drowning themselves in the Xiang River.
In Theravada Buddhism, the 12th Sakyamuni was enlightened under a clump of thorny bamboo (Bambusa blumeana). Then bamboo became one of the most important plant in Buddhism.
Vihara or pure abode was firstly recorded to be inside bamboo forest. Later bamboo becomes one of the significant ornamental plant in Buddhism temples. There are several temples in China named after bamboo, such as Qiongzhuea Temple in Kunming. Bamboo species are named after Buddha too, such as Buddha belly bamboo (Bambusa ventricosa), Mercy Buddha bamboo (Bambusa multiplex var. riviereorum), arhat bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea), etc.