The natural beauty of the beach is a usual view and can be found in almost all beaches on the island of Lombok. Yet, in Central Lombok, one of the districts in Nusa Tenggara Barat province, there is a legendary story which creates a cultural tradition which is still preserved until this day in Seger Kuta Beach. As the white sandy beach, Kuta Beach is located in the southern part of Central Lombok regency. Seger Kuta Beach is located on the left side of Hotel Novotel Kuta, about 65 kilometers of Mataram city. The beautiful panorama of the beach makes the visitors feel amazed by this place. The view of unspoiled nature where the water is clear and calm makes this place ideal to swim and frolic.
Yet, the most phenomenal attraction of this beach is Bau Nyale as a very popular cultural event which can’t be found in any other beaches in the hemisphere. The word “Bau” and “Nyale” come from Lombok Sasak language. “Bau” means to catch and “Nyale” means a kind of worm that live in the hole of coral and rock below the sea surface.
BAU NYALE is held regularly every year between February and March. This event has very high sacred values for Sasak. The celebration of Bau Nyale is created from a legend that developed in the southern part of Central Lombok, especially in Pujut village. The folklore tells about Princess Mandalika as a beautiful and prudent princess in her time. It’s said that her beauty was beyond any woman at that time. Her extraordinary beauty makes the princes of the various kingdom wanted her to be their queen consort and they did not hesitate to cross swords with each other to be able to marry Princess Mandalika. However, Princess Mandalika didn’t want any bloodshed among them and decided to reject the entire proposals. Some princes couldn’t accept her decision. So, in order to avoid war and bloodshed, she finally made a huge decision to sacrifice herself for her beloved people and kingdom. Read the story: “Princess Mandalika, Legendary of beautiful ‘Nyale’ Princess”.
The story of Princess Mandalika has always been a legendary story among the people of Lombok, specially Central Lombok and ethnic group Sasak who told the origins of the celebration Event Bau Nyale (catch worms). Therefore, the Regional Government of Central Lombok makes this sacred ceremony as a local cultural asset that its implementation has become an event of national cultural activities. Event Bau Nyale has now became a tradition that is almost impossible to be extinct for local people since they believe that Bau Nyale ceremony brings luck to who appreciate it and harm to who underestimate it. The annual folk festival is also always attended by local authorities, officials of NTB province government as well as officials from the center.
The sacred legendary tradition is passed before the 16th BC for generations by native ethnic of Sasak. When this event takes place, local people and tourist will come and participate to catch Nyale at south coast of Lombok since the afternoon. Seger Kuta beach as the center of this event will be most crowded place for the participant. Since tourism in Lombok Island grows rapidly, there will be various activities to entertain the tourists. There will be traditional local art events such as Betandak (replying each other rhyme called pantun or a traditional poetry which each verse of which consists of two couplets), Bejambik (giving gift to a lover), as well as Belancaran (cruise with boat), and colossal drama Princess Mandalika.
According to local belief in Lombok, the sea worms are often called Nyale or Palolo worm (Eunice fucata). They usually catch Nyale and sow it over the agricultural land as fertility in order to produce a satisfactory harvest. They also make Nyale as delicious meals like chips Nyale, pepes Nyale, side dishes, and various other foods.
Medically, Dr. dr. Soewignyo Soemohardjo reveals in his research that Nyale releases substances to kill germs and has very high animal protein which is good for the body. While socially, based on a survey among farmers in the central Lombok, 70.6% of respondents who throw leaves of pepes Nyale into the fields could make create it fertile which affect to increase the crops. Regardless of the research, culturally, annual event Bau Nyale can be enjoyed by everyone in every circle which brings a lot of benefits as expected by Princess Mandalika.