Long time ago, there was a legendary story in Gumi Sasak Lombok Island. At the time, there was a kingdom named Tonjang Beru on the South Coastal of Lombok Island. Tonjang Beru Kingdom was ruled by the famous King with his wisdom. His name was King Tonjang Beru and the queen consort was Dewi Seranting. All the people was very proud and happy to have such as wise and prudent king. They lived peacefully in the kingdom. By all the support of the king, the people of the Tonjang Beru Kingdom became prosperous and serene.
The king had a daughter named Princess Mandalika. Supposedly, when princess grew up, she had the beauty that no one can match. She was very graceful and beautiful. With all of her charm, beauty, elegance and noble mind was also being very famous from the east end to the west end of the island of Lombok. People was very proud of her.
Her beauty and elegance was well-known and heard by all the princes in Sasak (Lombok). Each of them was from Johor Kingdom, Lipur, Pane, Kuripan, Daha, and Beru Kingdom. It’s said that because of the extraordinary beauty, the princes fell in love with Princess Mandalika. All of them wanted her and they did not hesitate to cross swords with each other in order to marry Princess Mandalika. However, Princess Mandalika didn’t want any bloodshed among them and she decided to reject the entire proposals.
Two princes, Prince Datu Teruna from Johor Kingdom and Prince Maliawang from Lipur Kingdom, were very angry and couldn’t accept the decision. Datu Teruna sent Arya Bawal and Arya Tebuik to propose Princess Mandalika one more time with a threat that he would destroy Tonjang Beru Kingdom if Princess Mandalika refused the proposal. In other hand, Prince Maliawang also sent Arya Bumbang and Arya Tuna with the similar threat. Still, Princess Mandalika accepted no proposal.
Getting mad of her, Prince Datu Teruna blew Senggeger Utusan Tuhan, while Prince Maliawang blew Senggeger Jaring Sutra. The efficacy of both senggegers made Princess Mandalika was continuously thinking about them. There would occur a war if the Princess choosed no one but there would also occur the awful war if the Princess choosed one of the princes. She couldn’t eat nor sleep to think about it which finally made her being emaciated. The whole Tonjang Beru Kingdom felt sad for her. At her young age, Princess Mandalika was forced to bear a huge responsibility that related to the future of the Tonjang Beru Kingdom.
In meditation, the princess got a divine inspiration to invite all the princes for a meeting on the 20th of tenth month in Calendar Sasak. They had to come in the very early morning along with all the people of each kingdom. All the guests were asked to come and gather at Kuta beach.
Thousands people came from all over the island of Lombok. The children to parents came for invitation of the princess. Some people even came the days before the appointed day. They were gathered impatiently waiting for the princess. They could not wait to see how the princess will determine her choice.
As promised, when the sky reddened in the east, Princess Mandalika came by using a gold-plated sedan chair. Royal soldiers walked on the left, right, and behind the princess. It’s very tight guard. Her coming took the breath away.
The princess came with a very beautiful silk dress. Soon, the princess walked and stopped on the pile of rocks, with the ocean behind her. Princess Mandalika stood by all the people. She spoke briefly announcing her decision in a loud voice, “O my father, mother, and all the princes and people of the Tonjang Beru Kingdom I love. Today I have determined that I am for you all. I can’t choose one of you, because there will be a bigger disaster to happen. Therefore, let me be Nyale that can be enjoyed by all people.”
When her words ended, the all the princes, the people, even the king and queen became confused by what did Princess Mandalika’s words mean. Unexpectedly, the princess threw something on a rock and then threw herself into the ocean. She swallowed by the waves along with the strong winds and thunder. No sign of the princess. Everyone became confused. They wanted to look for Princess Mandalika but there was no trace left. Suddenly, small animals shaped like a worm came to Kuta Beach in huge numbers. When they saw it, they finally understood the meaning of Princess Mandalika’s words. They assumed that the animals were the incarnation of Princess Mandalika named Nyale. For the love to Princess Mandalika, they took the animal as much as possible and enjoyed it. As for Princess Mandalika ‘I am for you all’, now Nyale could be enjoyed by all circles.
That’s the story Bau Nyale. Catching Nyale has become a tradition in Lombok for generations. Nowadays, Bau Nyale event is kept growing by the very active role of Lombok’s goverment. They bring the band or artist to enliven the event. But, the main event is the tradition itself. At Bau Nyale event, people would get together from the afternoon on the beach with a variety of traditional events such as, Presean, 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. By joining Bau Nyale event, people can see how the solidarity and togetherness work. As the tradition is to be continued.