Bau Nyale Festival

Cultural in Kuta

On the 19th day of the 10th month in the Sasak calendar (generally February or March), hundreds of Sasaks gather on Pantai Seger for big ceremonies and feasts involving stick fighting, live bands and the odd, worm-like nyale.

When night falls, fires are built and teens sit around competing in a Sasak poetry slam, where they spit rhyming couplets called pantun back and forth. At dawn the next day, the first of millions of nyale (which appear here annually) are caught, then teenage girls and boys take to the sea separately in decorated boats, and chase one another with lots of noise and laughter. The nyale are eaten raw or grilled, and are considered to be an aphrodisiac. A good catch is a sign that a bumper crop of rice is coming.