Bau Nyale Festival (usually in February or March)
On the 19th day of the 10th month in the Sasak calendar (generally February or March), hundreds of Sasaks gather on the beach at Kuta, Lombok for a local version of poetry and big ceremonies and feasts involving the odd, worm-like nyale fish. 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. This is a ‘catching of sea worms’ festival that happens annually. It draws crowds at Seger Beach, Kuta, where people camp out overnight and join in the traditional rituals, art performances and boat races.
Ogoh Ogoh Parade (usually in March or April)
This is an event that happens the day before Nyepi Day (Hindu New Year), and occurs in Mataram Lombok. Here they have Ogoh Ogoh Statues in a parade. Nyepi Day signifies the start of the Saka New Year for Indonesian Hindu people and is a day of silence, reflection, fasting and meditation in Bali. Because of this, Bali airport and other transport services are closed so you will not be able to get to or from Lombok on this day. Nyepi Day is still an event in Lombok, but unlike Bali, Lombok still functions normally on this day and does not shut down. So the best option if you holiday during Nyepi is to come visit Lombok!
Senggigi Festival (usually in July)
A several day celebration of Lombok art and culture, to promote Lombok tourism. A great way to see culture from all over Lombok in one place, and a fun event with parades and competitions on the main street of Senggigi. The main event is in the main street parade, representative groups from all over Lombok will join the parade dressed in costumes from their different regions and villages, performing street theater, dance and playing traditional instruments. During the four days of the festival, from morning to afternoon there will be different competitions held in Senggigi Square, including photography competitions, traditional bridal make up, children’s painting, juggling, band performances and more. All performances during the festival are free and tourists are encouraged to attend!
Perang Topat (usually in November or December)
This is a rice cake war celebrated by both Hindus and Muslims at the Pura Lingsar Temple in West Lombok. People come together to offer cakes, fruit, rice, etc. to give thanks for their crops. Following this, there is a good natured war of rice cake throwing to celebrate harmony between people of Lombok. This ‘rice war’ in Lombok is fun. It takes place at Pura Lingsar just 15 minutes from Mataram and involves a costumed parade while Hindus and Wektu Telu throw balls of ketupat (sticky rice) at each other.
Indonesian Independence day
Celebrated across Lombok, August 17 marks the anniversary of Indonesia’s independence from the Dutch in 1945. Legions of school kids march with great enthusiasm on Lombok’s main roads, with festivals and competitions. Traffic is very busy (as well as days before for rehearsals) and lots of fireworks are shot off.