Myths and beliefs are stories passed down from hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Most of them don’t make much sense, but hey, culture is culture!
As for the people from Lombok, they believe that eating sea worms will give them good health.
A mother, Deri Lioni, recently uploaded a video which shooked netizens online. She had fed live worms to her baby girl, believing that it is good for her daughter!
She even posted two videos of her feeding the child these live worms. Although many netizens slammed the mother for doing such a ‘torturous’ and ‘abusive’ act on her own daughter, the daughter actually didn’t mind it.
In the video, the mother can be heard asking the kid if she wants more, to which the little girl nodded her head to say yes, so she fed her more.
In fact, in the second video, the little girl even picked up a worm herself and ate it.
People from the new trending holiday island, Lombok, celebrates the Nyale Sea Worm Festival where they go out to the beach to catch these worms, according to the Jakarta Post.
The urban legend behind this celebration is about a princess who disagreed with her father.
She had many suitors and her father, King Sed, came up with the idea of having a competition for the princes – to fight each other and the winner will be the one to marry Princess Mandalika.
But being the kind woman that she is, the princess couldn’t agree to her father’s idea which was filled with violence. So, to stop the madness from taking place, she decided to drown herself in the sea.
Apparently, the place where she had drowned from was located at Seger Beach.
However, before she commit her suicide, she promised the people of her kingdom that she will return to see them on the 20th day of the 10th month in the Sasak calendar, which is on February 16 and 17 this year.
The local authorities told the press,
“According to that legend, the locals still hold the tradition strong that the sea worms are the incarnation of Princess Mandalika. That is why when the date approaches, they flock to the beach to hunt for sea worms.”
They believe that to catch the sea worms during the festival will bring blessings. If they place the worms that are caught in paddy fields would help fertilize the land.
Besides that, consuming the worms will apparently give the consumer’s body better health. Local women even think that eating the sea worms will make them as beautiful as Princess Mandalika.
But of course, on top of these, the festival also brings people together and to uphold the tradition.
Earlier in 2017, the Nyale Sea Worm Festival was added into the national tourism calendar, making it a nationally acknowledged celebration.
The tourism ministry official said,
“This tradition is no longer owned by Central Lombok or NTB, but also Indonesia, thus we all have to preserve it.”
The local authorities believe that there will be at least a million tourists more than 2016, where they had a whooping 3 million visitors.
Although this wasn’t a case of outright abuse or forceful feeding, many netizens slammed the poor mother for doing something that was culturally acceptable.
But, now that it is shown as a cultural tradition to eat the sea worms, do you still think what the Deri Lioni did was bad?