Bau Nyale Festival (The Story Behind Traditional Heritage)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bau Nyale Festival (The Story Behind Traditional Heritage)

If you ever been gone to Lombok Island, you must know what is Bau Nyale Festival. Nyale is a kind of sea worm (anelida) and only can be found in Southern of Lombok Island (Sekaroh, Awang Bay, Terasak, Belowam , Aan, Seger, Belongas, Mawun, Ebuak and Dundang). Nyale is categorized into kelabang worm for it small dotted feet resembling kelabang creature. But meaning of Bau Nyale in Sasak Language means can be lit. Bau Nyale Festival is a traditional festival that celebrate once in a year  , where every people can joint it looks for Nyale .

People attend to the Festival look for Nyale
Nyale  only exist in February - March at Seger, Kuta Beach, Central Lombok  that is why the festival celebrate during that mounths. The worm sill come up when the moon, wind and tide are comming together. This warm can be eaten, sasaknesse usually collect it and cook it together when Nyale Season is come. worms will come out now from midnight until morning when the sea began to recede. colorful worms and will look like when exposed to light rays bouncing off the moon and worms.

Bau Nyale Festival  are events and traditions of the legendary and has a high sacred value for Sasak tribe, the tribe native to the island of Lombok. The tribe descendents that celebrate this tradition include several village in East and Central Lombok.

Bau Nyale (Catching Nyale)

The existence of the party Nyale smell is closely related to a folklore that developed in the southern part of Central Lombok district, precisely at the community Pujut, a district that covers an area of Central Lombok district. 

Seger Beach, Kec. Pujut, Central Lombok

Among the several places where people cathcing Nyale, Seger Beach is most well known places and flooded by many visitor especially those who are non Sasak (Iqa-Iku) tribe. Seger is located in the eastern part of Kuta bay, a very beautiful bay and an interesting side for recreation. The beautiful view of this beach is an unvaluable miracle for them. As tourist destionation in Central Lombok, Seger Beach not only highly potential for its costal beauty but it also complemented by the traditional ritual festival  like Bau Nyale Festival.

Bau Nyale derived from those people based on the ancient mythology regarding Princess Mandalika. The mythology become the underlying phylosphy of sasak people.According to belief of Sasak People in Central Lombok This Festival is celebrated in the hope to neutralize the two opposing power of Princess Mandalika. In one side this character is believed to bring benevolence, prosperity, safety, fertility, plenty of crop and social compassion. On the other hand , especially when character is mad , she can be detrimenal to the need of local people. These two opposing power could be neutralized and become harmonya with the ritual celebration of Bau Nyale as people believe that nyale is the reincarnation of Princess Mandalika. Bau Nyale lies in the middle between the two oppposing power, therefore, it symbolyze balance and harmony.

Nyale Worm

She is the daughter of a king who ever reigned in the land of Lombok. Her fascinating beauty deeply attrack every viewer. Even many princes who have seen her fall in love with her. This myth is a folk tradition and transmitted orally from generation to generation. Socio-culturally , this myth is perceived not as a mere fiction, but rather as philosophical reality that deeply occupies the sub - conscious of the people and plays as a special role in the socio cultural practice.There are two version of Putri Mandalika myth.

First Version , Putri Mandalika is a daughter of King Raja Tonjeng Beru and the Queen Dewi Seruntung, who Rule the Sekar Kuning Kingdom in Eberu. Her beauty, charm, ability an talent in various profession widely known and fascinated many princes from different kingdom. Too many wedding proposals for Putri Mandalika prompt , the king fully authorized his daughter to select the best choice. The princess faced extreme dilemma. It took long enough time until the princess chose the best for her. Prompted by mysterious guidence , she decided to plunge herself into the sea. This is down with intention to give a fair treatment to all of them who wants her. She really wanted to cut her life despite her wish to live for several more decades to enjoy life that she never experiences. In time, she visited belangon , southern costal area in Terasak, Bumbang, where she wanted to announce her choice. She said that she cant choose a single prince out of many princes for her. She chose to reincarnated as nyale to make all people can enjoy herself. Suddenly, heavy raining, tide up and roaring thunderbolt simultaneously complement the people grieves to rescue the princess. On the stone there is still a form of woman sexual organ that is thought to derive from the body of the princess before plugging hersel down to the sea.

Second Version, the myth narrates about the princes who wants to make love with Putri Mandalika are requested to plunge themselves on the 20th of ten month. In the next year , on the said date , a  massive number of Eberu people go to the sea to prove the princess promise. All they discovered is only a short of a nyale worm back and forth on the air, which is thought as the reincarnation of the princess.The people began to catch the nyale as much as they can. That is the origin of catching nyale that eventually develop as a tradition inherited from generation to generation until now. Lately this tradition is concected to a happy season going to the beach after plating rice or working on the rice field and farm, for teenagers' meeting and taking nyale as delicious food. This second version is the most popular tale until present time well known by the local people.

Catching Nyale has distinctive meaning. In a thankful celebration, after conclusion of catching nyale , all family members go to graveyard with food. The prupose is to visit the spirit of dead relatives and to conduct a ceremonial rendezvous of eating together. Before the ceremony of collective eating , they burn incense and sprinkle a pitcher of water three times over a given burial places from the head to the feet. 

This short story is still remind in my mind. I really interest to the traditional culture in any place in Indonesia, but Lombok is the most interesting for me. I write it to you based on the knowledge I know from visiting Lombok Island.  Hopefully we are conscious and loving Indonesian traditional culture and always intend to continue to pass them on to our descendants in a way that we can afford. And I try to do it by telling to all readers about The Indonesian Culture that I know.

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