Bau Nyale

Lombok Bau Nyale Festival
One of Lombok’s most important and popular festivals is Bau Nyale, meaning “to catch the sea worms” in local Sasak language., the Nyale is sea worms in a variety of color are 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, it’s celebrated in February around 14th and 15th in the south coast beaches of Lombok. 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.

One week before this celebration, the accommodations in Kuta are fully booked with local and overseas visitors who want to see the Festival directly. The festival starts with many attractions such; Presean (people fighting), Adu Pantun a form of traditional poetry, where young people tease and with each other, competing to form verses in a ritual style.

The highlight of the festival is the drama which story a legend of Putri (Princess) Mandalika, who was the princess of a large kingdom called “Yellow Flower”. According to local myth, this kingdom was famous throughout the land and Princess Mandalika was very beautiful, as well as being kind and well-loved by the people of her kingdom. So many men wanted to marry her that it began to cause trouble between the different kingdoms and the Princess became unable to choose between them without her decision causing further trouble.

Finally the princess’ father, King Kuripan, gathered all the rivals together and instructed Princess Mandalika to choose her husband before sunrise the next morning. Fearful of causing a war, instead of choosing one of them, Princess Mandalika declared that, even if she loved one of the suitors, she loved her parents, her kingdom and the people of her kingdom too much to cause a war. Saying that, rather than choose one, she would give herself to everyone, she threw herself into Seger Beach, declaring that she would return each year as a sign that she would never leave her people.

Everyone searched the surrounding sea for the princess, but instead of the princes they just found colourful sea-worms, called Nyale. According to a local priest, or Dukun, the princess’s body had been transformed into these sea worms, and thus they became a traditional symbol for the Sasak people.

The highlight of the ceremony occurs when the local priest or Dukun go to the sea to observe the spawning Nyale and predict the future rice harvest, based on the number of sea worms. A good catch is a sign that this year’s rice harvest will also be good. Nyale are traditionally associated with fertility, and as part of a ritualized ceremony, the sea worms are ground up and placed in irrigation channels around fields to help ensure a good harvest. People are collected the worms to eat them for a special annual feast. Nyale are eaten sometimes raw when they are caught, or steamed, fried, or made into Pepes Nyale. In this popular local specialty, the Nyale are mixed with coconut and spices, then wrapped in a banana leaf and roasted over the fire. The sea worm taste is delicious and rich in protein.


Presean (stick fighting) in Lombok

Presean is an extreme fight game as the symbol of masculinity of Sasaknes man in Lombok. This game is  battle of two men armed with rattan sticks in Sasak language called Penjalin and armored buffalo skin thick and hard called Ende. Two men fighters armed with "Penjalin" attack to each other, defending their opponent's blows with Ende. The fighters in local Lombok language "Sasak" called Pepadu, they are come from selected brave and gentle man who just  wearing 'Sarung" and headband without any clothes or other body and face protectors. There is "Pakembar" as the referee of the game.

The Presean cultural  is already known from Lombok Sasak society for generations, originally a part  traditional ceremony of the happiness of soldiers in Lombok Kingdom when they get won in a war and a ritual ceremony to invoke the rain as drought. As well as its historic associatPresean (stick fighting) in Lombokions, the fight also serves to ask God for rain for the imminent planting season with the ancient belief being that the more blood spilled, the more rain would follow. Presean fighting now it’s become part of tradition and entertainment culture performance in Lombok

The game performance with Lombok traditional music called "Beleganjur" and a commentator giving spirit to the fighters. Uniquely from Presean fight, the participants or Pepadu had never been specially prepared. Duel two pepadu held in five rounds, the winner is determined by the results obtained value or one of pepadu leaky head, referee will stop the game if the fighter get blood even they still strong enough to fight. Pakembar (referee) even request visitors or audience to participate toying with rattan sticks and shields provided. The audience / prospective participants can propose themselves or be selected by the referee edge and fight with other visitor or those selected fighters. All consequences caused in the game is on own risk of fighter even though there is very simple emergency medical treatment.
The winner awarded with packed of cigarette, body soap and shampoo  or an envelope  with small amount of money. There is no big reward actually for the winner but young man who like this game to express their spirit also as a manifest of love to Lombok culture.

Regulation Presean fighting is very simple, fighter (pepadu) should not be hitting the bottom of his opponent's stomach (thigh, leg, let alone the groin. The highest value is obtained if fighter (pepadu) successful embezzlement until down. Interestingly, on the sidelines of the battle of the pepadu plus the referees have to dance when traditional music plays. Maybe its intention to release the tension during the game. It such a lovely attraction, while the fighters scuffled with each other, a few seconds later they were dancing, laughing and looking for crack versus weakness, a second later hit hard rattan shields - plaques!, then they dance again
The match end with greetings and hugs of friendship between the fighters. No sign of resentment and all just a game! It's really casual.
The scenery of Presean culture a lot perform for celebration of Indonesia Independent day in Lombok, a week before and after independent day of Indonesia (August 17) and also on other cultural event such as Bulan Apresiasi Budaya (BAB) as government program to Introduce of Lombok culture in general tourist society and one week perform on Senggigi Festival in July.

Malean Sampi

Malean Sampi Festival Lombok

From many festivals that are celebrated in Lombok, the Male'an Sampi Festival of Lombok is a famous one that is celebrated with much so fun. The Male'an Sampi Festival of Lombok is unique for the reason that unlike other festivals, the Male'an Sampi Festival of Lombok is a power-charged game ritual. People have been known the Male’an Sampi Festival since 18 century in the government of Japan era in Indonesia.

The name of the Male'an Sampi Festival of Lombok “Male'an Sampi” can be split into two Sasak words “Male’an” and Sampi”. The word of “Male’an”means ‘chase’or as ‘to run after’ in Sasak, while the “Sampi” means ‘cow’. So literally the Male'an Sampi Festival of Lombok is a festival of cow race or, more broadly, ‘cattle race’. Held within the month of April, the race occurs after the harvest has been gathered and the farms are going through a rest period. During this time, the farmers and the cattle owners and stock breeders take advantage of the leisure to organize and host the Male'an Sampi Festival of Lombok. In fact, through the entire country of Indonesia, the Male'an Sampi Festival of Lombok is a special in this island.


In this festival is especially for the ability control of two cattle completed with farmer equipment such Gau, Ayuga, Samet and Serumpungan or Kerotok. Before the race begins, the cattle that have been chosen by the owners with care. The cow is decorated to make it more interesting in the race. There is a procession of locals accompanied by music and fanfare. Some of the popular genres of music that accompany this procession are Tawak-Tawak, Gamelan Kampul and Batek Baris Lingsar. After all this, the race begins in the arena. The main arena comprises of a 100 meter long race track. However, it is not an ordinary race track, it is waterlogged. The cows that have been prepared for the race, with good food, grooming and a tiny dose of ‘black magic’ then take to the tracks. The winner and the good performers in the race get star ratings and are put up for sale by the owners as they are considered to be a good investment.

Gendang Beleq

Gendang Beleq /Big Drum (Lombok Traditional Musik)

Gendang Beleq is one of the most popular traditional dance from Lombok. It is named so because each dancer plays a big beleq (drum). In the old times, this dance was performed to say good bye to the soldiers who went to battle fields, and also to welcome those soldiers when they returned. Nowadays this dance is performed to welcome important visitors.
It also a lot performed in various occasions such as marriage ceremonies, in a parade called Nyongkolan and also for the entertainment of the important guests in Lombok

The performance of Gendang Beleq also combined with dance called Gandrung. The dance involves two huge drums to accompany it. The word “Beleq” means huge and the other word “Gendang” stands for drum. The drums make loud noises, which in turn signify the essence that makes war. 4 or 6 Oceh/Oncer dancer also plays Copeh Instrument and 1 person plays Petuk. Additional instrument are Suling, Gong, Terumpang, Kenceng and Pencek. Total player in a group of this performance is around forty persons.

In the performance of Gendang Beleq have 3 parts and meaning of each part. First part danced by Oncer player, Gendang and Petuk. This part is representation of the soldier going for war. Second part danced by Petuk player with funny style, this dance just for entertain the audience. Third part danced by Oncer player, Gendang and Petuk, this part is representation of the war over.

All the performers wear colorful dresses while dancing. They wearing traditional customs such short pant and cloth, collared clothes, traditional belt called dodot and headband.

Now Gendang Beleq is a part of Indonesian culture festival to promote about Lombok. It is also become one of art education in school. Most of Junior high school in Lombok has Gendang beleq group who can perform and plays as well as their senior. Gendang Beleq attracts music lovers of all people because it is not only to entertain the soldier but all people who see this would enjoy and like it.


Nyongkolan (Lombok Traditional Wedding)

Lombok as the one small island in Indonesia which has many unique culture seem in the procession ceremony and ritual of it society. One of their unique cultures seems in wedding procession. This processions series start with Selarian, is the man take his girlfriend runaway from house to go to the man house for marriage. In the next day, the man will send the family or friend as his representative to come to woman house to inform that she going to marriage with the man, this procession called Selabar. Something unique in this procession is the woman who already gone for Selarian will not go back home even their family didn’t agree with her marriage, the procession should going till the last steps.


After Selabar, woman family will send their representative (man) to do the wedding ceremony or merariq as the procession to get the legality of a wedding. And the last procession called Nyongkolan, this procession is to celebrate the wedding and take the woman back home to meet her family. During the procession, it takes many people to participate walk from the man house to woman house, it is interesting to see this procession because the people wearing colorful traditional custom, music Gendang Beleq and decoration to make the situation become so much fun.


In every Nyongkolan parade should have a Pembayun, is the old man who believed to talk and do Adu Pantun Sasak (sasak poem battle) very well. When the group arrived in the woman house, Pembayun will be in the front of the group and become the one person who can talk with the woman family. He will talk with very polite sasak language and doing adu pantun sasak till got the winner. And the loser have to pay some money or what they wearing in meantime, such a watch to the winner. After this session then the woman can meet their family.

The line of parade Nyongkolan divided into three parts; first part is the line of brightness with her friends, generally it is followed by 40 women. In the second line is the bright part and the last line is the part for music (Gendang Beleq or Kecimol). This procession is easy to find in Mid Lombok, available every Saturday and Sunday especially after Lebaran Holiday. This parade also be the reason of the traffic jam in Lombok but it will not make people bored because they can see unique culture, music and custom while in the traffic.