The Jakarta Post
The cultural parade serves as the opening event for the 2018 Festival "Pesona Bau Nyale" (Bau Nyale Charms Festival) (JP/Panca Nugraha)
Thousands of participants from 12 districts and 110 villages across Central Lombok regency joined the Mandalika Fashion Carnival on Monday afternoon in the city of Praya, Central Lombok.
The cultural parade served as the opening event for the 2018 Festival Pesona Bau Nyale (Bau Nyale Charms Festival).
Other than showcasing cultures, fashion and art performances, the parade also featured "Gendang Beleg" (a dance and music performance) performed by personnel of Central Lombok precinct police (Polres).
"This event shows how Central Lombok is home to cultural richness," said Central Lombok Regent official Fathul Bahri during the opening ceremony, which was also attended by West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Tourism Agency head Lalu Mohammad Faozal and several Chinese tourists.
Participants of the parade walk down the street in Central Lombok. (JP/Panca Nugraha)
The parade reportedly passed through a 2-kilometer route in Praya.
The 2018 Festival Pesona Bau Nyale itself will have its peak event on March 6-7. It has also been included as one of the 100 Wonderful Indonesia Event 2018 national tourism calendar event.
Lalu said at least 12 unique tourism events would be held as part of the Bau Nyale festival, which aims to increase the number of tourists to the province, with this year's target at 4 million visitors.
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Members of the Central Lombok precinct police join the parade by playing "Gendang Beleq" on Monday, March 5. (JP/Panca Nugraha)
The Bau Nyale festival is said to be a unique activity that only exists in Central Lombok. "This phenomenon of the appearance of sea worms also exists in other regions and has been used as a tourism event. But the phenomenon in Central Lombok is special and has its own uniqueness as it is strongly related to the legend of Princess Mandalika," said Fathul.
According to Central Lombok Tourism Agency head Lalu Putria, Princess Mandalika was a very beautiful princess from Tunjung Beru Kingdom who had attracted many princes from other kingdoms to marry her. Due to the many suitors who came to the kingdom, King Sed, Mandalika's father, held a contest where the winner would get the opportunity to marry her. However, since Mandalika didn't want any casualties, she decided to throw herself into the sea.
In the legend, Princess Mandalika left a message to the people who missed her, saying she would reappear every year on the 20th day on the 10th month according to the Sasak calendar at Seger Beach in Central Lombok. This year, the date falls on March 6-7.
This promise of her reappearance became the tradition of bau nyale, where people go to look and hunt for nyale, a wawo-type of sea worm that is believed to be the incarnation of Princess Mandalika.
"Interestingly, this tradition involves many people, even reaching tens of thousands. The philosophical meaning behind it is also very good, which is that Princess Mandalika was willing to sacrifice herself to avoid [casualties]," said Lalu Putria. (kes)
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