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 Nyale Festival

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Gemma
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PostSubject: Nyale Festival    Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:11 pm

Every Year on the 19th day of the 10th month of the Sasak calandar, the usually tranquil Kuta, Lombok becomes a hive of activity. Thousands of locals and tourists come for the "Bau Nyale" ceremony, also known as the Mandalika Festival.

Bau means "to catch" and the nyale are a type of sea worm that surface only at this time of year, along the southern beaches of Lombok. (Kuta, Seger, Serenting and Selong Belanak) People join together at night and into the early hours or the morning to catch the nyale by torch light and lanterns, while eerily singing pantun (traditional poetry)

The nyale are special for many reasons. They appear in the billions to mate and are very brightly coloured in several different shades of neon. There is also some romantic and tragic folklore connected with them.

A long time ago there was a king who ruled Teberu Kingdom. He had a beautiful daughter named Putri Mandalika. She was so beautiful in fact that several princes came to her to propose marriage! The king was overwhelmed and confused and did not know which of the princes to choose. Jealousy between them could result in a war, which nobody wanted. So the king passed on the decision to his daughter.

After a few days of thought the princess called all the people of the kingdom to witness her decision. Rather than throw the people into war by choosing one prince, Princess Mandalika shouted "I will not give myself to one but to one everyone!" Then she threw herself into the ocean and instantly disappeared.

Despite their frantic searching, her people were unable to recover her. Instead all they found was the nyale which they believed was a manifestation of Princess Mandalika's hair.

There is also folklore that one or more of the princes jumped in after the princess and also lost their lives that day.

Nowadays to mark the occasion of Nyale or the Mandalika festival, people gather at dusk, light fires along the beach, sing the patun and eat sate, bakso, and other delicious fare bought from temporary warungs set up along the beach. The atmosphere is buzzing. It is a rare occasion for young people to meet a potential pacar (boy or girlfriend) an opportunity they don't miss out on!

At dawn fishing boats return with their catch. A healthy catch symbolises a healthy harvest for the coming year. An aphrodisiac, the nyale are eaten raw or grilled on the beach.



Nyale will fall in the coming month or so. We are still awaiting the announcement of the official date and will post it as soon as we hear!
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Gemma
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PostSubject: Re: Nyale Festival    Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:00 am

We heard last night that the date for Nyale is February 26th. sunny
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Sempiak Adam
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PostSubject: Nyale Tales   Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:55 am

Thanks Gemma, I had been doing some research on this and had narrowed it down to 24 - 26 March. It's a shame there isn't more notice so we could advertise and build it into an event for tourists to plan for....

Selong Belanak goes crazy, 10's of thousands last year. Music, food, all sorts of carrying on!
And yes we had one staff wedding from it. One of the Sempiak gardeners kissed a girl on the beach, and was married the next day.

Incidentally, the hill at Sempiak has a large outcrop of big rocks on one of its peaks. Here resides the spirit of a/the Princess. According to those who are sensitive to such things. No one can tell me if it is Mandalika for certain. But she like yellow flowers so we have planted yellow flowering frangipani around her rocks/palace.

Adam

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Gemma
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PostSubject: Re: Nyale Festival    Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:37 pm

Well that is a bit confusing as I am down in Kuta now and several locals are saying, including the manager of the hotel I am in 23rd - 26th February not March. Rolling Eyes I havent seen anything official in the press yet.
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Sempiak Adam
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PostSubject: Re: Nyale Festival    Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:17 pm

well you are right of course. I meant feb, not march. Oops
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Gemma
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PostSubject: Re: Nyale Festival    Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:14 am

Well that makes more sense then :-)
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Gemma
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PostSubject: Re: Nyale Festival    Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:41 pm

Preparations were in full swing last week with the hedgerows in the are being cut back and lots of temporary bamboo warungs being put up.

Word is the worms should be here on Wednesday/Thursday however there is already a build up of locals visiting Seger and Serenting beaches the last few days and this being Sunday festivities are already starting with stick fighting on the beach in Kuta this afternoon. So we are going to go down later and check that out as well as see whats happening at Seger.
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Gemma
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PostSubject: Re: Nyale Festival    Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:20 am

The Nyale worms arrived early this morning along with what sounded like hundreds of bikes driving into Kuta through the night. There were parties on the beach last night but tonight is the big night with plays and music planned at Seger Beach.
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Sempiak Adam
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PostSubject: Re: Nyale Festival    Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:28 pm

Yes, crowds have been building here in Selong Belanak juga. Fireworks, music, etc.
Expect the usual tens of thousands tonight.
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Sempiak Adam
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PostSubject: Re: Nyale Festival    Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:17 pm

Well, all went well, although quite a lot fewer people this year. But the nyale harvest was better....
The weather was bit less favourable for too much all night beach partying, though some did try.
I took some pics
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=26635&id=133611983373129

Not sure if that works or not!
Adam
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Gemma
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PostSubject: Re: Nyale Festival    Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:54 pm

The link works for me but photos are taking forever to load so I will have a look another time.

It was bigger event than usual here in Kuta. On Tuesday night the partying on the beaches started. One of our guests went to Seger and said she was the only tourist there.

On Wednesday we had a first with an Air Force display, flyovers and parachute jumpers.

I did not go down to the beach Wednesday night but the traffic and crowds seemed a lot more than usual even.

I had to go to the vets on Thursday morning and it took me 1hour 20 minutes to reach the junction at Sengkol - usually takes about 10 minutes now the new road is finished! I have never seen traffic like it in Kuta before! (hope I never do again too!)
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PostSubject: At Lombok’s Sea Worm Festival, A Colorful Meal Fit for a Prince   Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:53 am

Jakarta Globe - Fitri R. | February 25, 2011




Central Lombok. As a recent outbreak of religious violence grips the country, one community in West Nusa Tenggara is opening up a whole different can of worms.

Thousands of ethnic Sasak people from across Lombok Island descended on Seger Kuta Beach on the southern shore of the island late Wednesday night to take part in the Bau Nyale event and catch as many sea worms as possible.

The worms, or Nyale, are believed to be the earthly incarnation of the ancient Princess Mandalika, who according to legend drowned herself here in order to save her subjects from war.

Legend has it that Mandalika, who reigned over the Tonjeng Beru kingdom that covered modern-day Central Lombok district, was famed far and wide for her beauty.

Seven princes came wooing, each vowing to launch a war if they were rejected in favor of one of the others.

The princess then decided that if she could not be had by one, she would be had by all, and so drowned herself off Seger Kuta Beach, where her spirit would be taken up by the colorful sea worms there.

To mark the event, the island’s Sasak inhabitants have for hundreds of years flocked to the beach to catch the worms that they believe hold the spirit of “the wise princess.”

This year’s event began on Wednesday evening as crowds started gathering on the hilltops overlooking the beach.

The highlight of the evening was a mock fight between two youths representing the rival princes, each armed with a rattan staff and a cowhide shield.

The fighters, or pepadu , staged a good-spirited battle, which the locals said was important in both remembering the might of the ancient kingdoms and underscoring the Bau Nyale as a commemoration of a peaceful resolution to an imminent war.

As night approached, more events were held, including a pageant to choose a new Princess Mandalika, a play depicting the legend and traditional dances.

However, Kusen, 58, from Kuripan subdistrict in West Lombok, said these events were conceived in recent years by the local authorities to draw more tourists to the Bau Nyale.

JAKARTA GLOBE
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