We are now well into the Festival of Bau Nyale. A festival steeped in the traditional Sasak folklore of beautiful South Lombok.
Villagers, government authorities and tourists alike, flock to the beaches of the South, to become part of an eventful tradition. As a chance to experience the exotic culture within the splendid backdrop of a magical view of the island, Bau Nyale is surely a celebration worth participating. It’s easy to see why Island life can give rise to such fantastical legends.The festival also features many traditional competitions, archery, stick fighting and rowing boat races. As a grand event of the people of Lombok the Bau Nyale festival also presents various art performances, such as: the Wayang Kulit (Leather puppets Show), and the theatrical play on the legend of the Nyale Princess.
 It all started with the Princess Mandalika the story is told here in an audio file of a local folk song, and the legend roughly translates as below.”Once upon a time, there was a kingdom in Lombok. The king had a very beautiful daughter. Her name was Princess Mandalika. She was very beautiful; many young men fell in love with her. Princes from all over the land wanted to marry her. One by one, they came to propose her. Princess Mandalika was a kind girl. She hated to make people sad. So, when those princes came to propose to her, she was very confused. She could not decide between the equally handsome and rich and powerful men and she did not want to make them sad. What could she do? Each Prince had many Lands and Villas, all a woman of wealth could desire. She did not need these things as she was content with the beauty of her Paradise Island.
The King then held a competition at the Seger Kuta beach, Lombok. He asked all the Princes to take part in an archery competition. The rule was simple: The best shot would win. The winner would win his beautiful daughters hand in marriage. One by one, all participants tried their utmost best. Each nobleman desired the beautiful Princess Mandalika to be their wife. After several rounds, there was no winner. All the participants were great. Those princes were great at archery. As there was no one winner, they then started to argue. They each claimed to be the best. The argument was getting hotter and hotter. It escalated pretty quickly to fisticuffs, but as these were Princes, with entourages of soldiers, it then escalated to a war!
Princess Mandalika was really worried. She did not want the war to get bigger and hurt many people. Finally, she had an idea. “Everybody, listen up! I know you all love me and want me to be your wife. But I can’t be all your wives. I don’t want you to fight because of me. And I don’t want you to be sad either. I want you all to have me, but not as your wives. I want to be someone that everybody can have. I want to be useful for you. I want to be nyale that you all can enjoy together,” said Princess Mandalika. The King and all other people on the beach did not understand what she meant. The King then came to her to ask his beautiful daughter what she meant. However, before he got close to his daughter, Princess Mandalika jumped to the sea. And she disappeared beneath the big waves. It was chaos on the beach. People were screaming. All the princes tried to swim to find the princess. But no one else dared to jump in the deep sea, the waves were too high. And these Princes hadn’t discovered surfing at this point. After several hours trying to search the princess, suddenly they found a lot of brightly coloured sea worms on the beach. The King then realized that his daughter had returned as sea worms. Later he named the worms as nyale. “
The sea worms are a rare variety of Palolo worm (Eunice viridis) found in tropical waters in certain parts of the world and in Lombok, Sumba and Savu in Indonesia. Once a year, when seasonal, marine and lunar conditions combine, the Nyale come to certain beaches around Lombok to spawn and, for a few days, the seas are filled with wriggling sea worms in a variety of colours, ranging from simple brown or pale cream to red and green. Bau Nyale, or the Nyale Festival, takes place every year in the tenth month of the Sasak calendar at a time close to the full moon.The most popular site for celebrating Bau Nyale is at beautiful Seger Beach near Kuta; an area called Putri Nyale (Princess Nyale) by the people of Lombok. It is less than half an hour form Selong Selo Residences and provides for some stimulating cultural experiences as well as the gentle relaxed pace of normal Lombok Life. One of the most important events for the Sasak people, the Bau Nyale ceremony is a ritual where glorious tradition meets enchanting scenery.