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More than sea worms: Bau Nyale seeks to charm tourists with legends, festivities

Panca Nugraha

The Jakarta Post

Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara  /  Mon, February 10, 2020  /  02:52 pm
More than sea worms: Bau Nyale seeks to charm tourists with legends, festivities

A cultural procession takes place during the opening event of the 2018 Festival Pesona Bau Nyale (Bau Nyale Charms Festival). (JP/Panca Nugraha)

The main event of the annual Bau Nyale Charm Festival is set to be held on Feb. 14 on Tanjung Aan beach in the Mandalika Special Economic Zone (KEK), Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).

The festival kicked off on Sunday evening with a perisaian (shield fighting) competition on Kuta Mandalika Beach.

"Hopefully this festival can attract more tourists to Lombok," said NTB Tourism Agency head Lalu Mohammad Faozal on Sunday during the competition's opening ceremony.

Bau nyale itself is a traditional festival devoted to catching wawo sea worms on the shore of South Lombok Beach. For the past five years, the festival has been included in the province's tourism calendar of events and the Tourism Ministry's 100 Wonderful Indonesia list.

For many years, the main event of the festival was held on Seger beach. "This year we moved the location to Tanjung Aan, due to the ongoing MotoGP 2021 preparations in the Seger beach area," said Faozal.

Among the events set to enliven the festival are a photo contest, a perisaian event, a creative economy dialogue, the Princess Mandalika Pageant and the Mandalika Fashion Carnival. 

According to Central Lombok historian Lalu Putria, the festival is closely related to the legend of Princess Mandalika. She was described as a very beautiful princess of the Tunjung Beru Kingdom. Many princes fell in love with her and asked her to marry them, which prompted the king of Mandalika, King Sed, to hold a contest. Those who wanted to marry his daughter had to fight one another, and the winner would be granted her hand in marriage. However, Princess Mandalikam, refusing to cause any bloodshed on her behalf, decided to drown herself in the waters off Seger beach instead. Legend has it that those who miss her can visit the beach on the 20th day of the 10th month according to the Sasak calendar, which, this year, will fall on Feb. 14.

"Bau Nyale is more than just hunting for sea worms. It's closely related to the legend of Princess Mandalika, which makes [the festival] even more interesting," added Lalu. (kes)

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