Lombok is one of the many small islands that form the world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia. Indonesia consists of about 17,508 islands. Lombok is also a part of the West Nusa Tenggara province located in Indonesia. Among the various festivals, Bau Nyale Festival in Lombok is the most popular one, which is also added with a mythical taste.
Bau Nyale is an annual festival in Lombok. The Bau Nyale Festival in Lombok is also known as “catching the nyale” among the Sasak people in the region. Nyale is in fact a kind of sea worm. This colossal festival bears a legendary myth as its background. So you must have a little idea about the myth before knowing about the festival in detail. Mandalika was the Princess of Kuripan and she was extremely beautiful. Her beauty became a craze among the princes of the land and all of them started fighting among each other to win the princess. However, this pathetic scenario made Mandalika distressed and she took a hard decision to bring the lost peace to her country. She jumped into the sea and sacrificed her life. Though it brought peace to the land again, the people could never forget their dear princess. Since then the festival is organized in certain time of the year.
The Sasak people think that on this particular day, the princess comes to visit her people. At the Kuta Beach she comes and in the forms of the little, colorful sea worms, the beautiful strands of her hair appears. Another mysterious fact about this Bau Nyale Festival of Lombok is that these unique nyale worms appear only in his particular time of the year and only at the Kuta and Seger beaches. They remain here for a couple of days and go away. Though the exact date of the festival depends on the arrival of these nyale worms, it has been noticed that they appear usually on the 19th day of the 10th month according to the calendar of Sasak lunar.
During those two, three days, countless Sasak people come to the Kuta beach and they wait till the dawn breaks. Until the right moment comes, they perform many traditions rituals together. People recite rhyming traditional poems that are popularly known as pantun among the Sasak people. Children also enjoy the festival in their way by riding various types of boats in the sea, making loud noises in he rain and so on. Then at the very moment the breaks, the nyale worms are caught and cooked. These are also served raw. Sasak people also think that the more they can catch the nyale worms, the better will be the harvesting of the year. In some areas people also use nyale worms as good fertilizers. They put them in the field and believe that these are good for the rice.