Bau Nyale Festival in Lombok

Bau Nyale Festival in Lombok

In Lombok, there is a unique tradition, it called Bau Nyale ceremony. This unique tradition is held around February each year during the rainy season or on the 20th day of the 10th month in Sasak Calender. The word ‘bau’ in Lombok language means ‘to-catch’ and Nyale is a type of sea worm that surfaces only around this time of the year. In this year, the celebrations were already held in Seger Beach at Lombok’s Kuta Village in the Pujut district on 16th to 17th February 2017.

For Lombok’s people, Bau Nyale Festival is an old tradition that tell about the legend of Princess Mandalika. According to that legend, Princess Mandalika is King Seg’s daughter from Tunjung Beru Kingdom. She was very beautiful. King Sed held a contest for young men to fight for his daughter and married with his daughter. But, she didn’t agree about that fight and bloodshed between kingdoms. So she gave a advice to Lombok’s people to live in peace and promised to return on the 20th day of 10th month in Sasak Calender. On that day, only Nyale worms could be seen everywhere in the sea, so everyone believe that the worms are the reincarnation of Princess Mandalika.

Until today, Lombok’s people believe that when a person is able to catch that worms, that person will bring good luck in his or her life. And following from the legend, a woman can become as beautiful as Mandalika when she eats the worms, and a man will be blessed with spirit. The Nyale worms can also be a food.  The Nyale worms can be eaten raw or cooked. In the night of the festival, people usually do some rites privately in their house.

The highlight of the ceremony is when the local priest goes into the sea to observe the spawning of Nyale and predicts the future rice harvest, based on the number of the sea worms. A good catch is a sign that the rice harvest on this year will also be good. Because of that, the sea worms are placed in irrigation system around fields to make sure a good harvest.

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Ashila Salma Yuniar

Ashila Salma Yuniar, EF Kota Harapan IndahFrontrunner 9