Thursday, May 28, 2009


4 more days to Soaring the Eagle, STE (PETRONAS development program for their scholarship holder) and for more days towards Hari Gawai. Yes, you guessed it right. I will not be going back to my village this year, I will not be celebrating Hari Gawai this year. Hari Gawai had been one of the best occasion and one that I enjoyed most. Perhaps because it is celebrated in a long house, compromising of 20 or more houses actually connected to one another. So you can imagine the fun we can have hanging around, visiting houses just few steps away. Unlike during Chinese New Year or Christmas, where we need cars to travel around and it's really troublesome. Or maybe it's during Gawai that I get to stay up until 4 or 5AM just watching people dancing around and getting drunk. It maybe the only time me and my cousins get to hang out, talk craps, gossips till the day gets bright. Sadly I will not have those this year, it will be the 7th by the time I reached Kuching and I'm not sure whether my parents will allow me to go back to my village by then since school holidays will end then. Put the blame on my finals and STE, or maybe people here are not considerate enough since we are the minority, being only 8% of Sarawak - imagine in Malaysia. 4 more days and I had been asking around where can I get a Selamat Hari Gawai card and everyone kept telling me that there is no way I can find it here. Wth! It's not like my grandparents can read emails. Still considering email an e-card to my cousins though.

Most of you may not know me as a Bidayuh, or in specific Bidayuh Salako and I do speak Salako. There are four main Bidayuh dialects namely Biatah, Bau Jagoi, Bukar Sadong and Salako. Biatah is widely spoken in Kuching, Penrissen, Siburan and Padawan district. Bau Jagoi is spoken in the Bau district and Kuching (Bumbok). Bukar Sadong is commonly spoken in Serian, Tebakang and nearby area. Salako is spoken in the Pueh and nearby area. Yes, my Mum is from Pueh - the very end of Borneo Island, Tanjung Dato area. Kalimantan, Indonesia is just over the mountains which can be seen for the nearby beach. My grandparents from my Mum's side came from Indonesia, so I guess that why I realized some of the Salako dialects are similar to Indonesia's. And I guess that's why we catch up Indonesian language quite fast. While my grandparents from my Dad's side came from China, so you can imagine the romantic love story of my parents. Lol...they are both from Sarawak though. Just that my Dad don't speak Malay and my Mum don't speak chinese. The only communication language is English, like me and him. X) I was supposed to join a Kumang Gawai thingy also, and take part in some performing events, sadly the STE popped up and clashed every excitement I had.

Pueh is somewhere the very South Sarawak, just beside Kalimantan :

The blessing event :

Internal view of Pueh Longhouse, where most events take place.

It's called "samik" :

Lastly, I would like to wish all Dayaks
"Selamat Hari Gawai!
"Slamat Ari Gawe!"

Some info about Gawai~

Gawai Day or Gawai Dayak is a festival celebrated in Sarawak on 1 June every year. It is both a religious and social occasion. The word Gawai means a ritual or festival whereas Dayak is a collective name for the native ethnic groups of Sarawak: Iban, Bidayuh, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, and Lun Bawang among others. Thus, Gawai Dayak literally means "Dayak Festival". Dayak would visit their friends and relatives on this day. Such visit is more commonly known as "ngabang" in the Iban language. Those too far away to visit would receive greeting cards.

The mode of celebration varies from place to place. Preparation starts early. Tuak (rice wine) is brewed (at least one month before the celebration) and traditional delicacies like penganan (cakes from rice flour, sugar and coconut milk) are prepared. As the big day approaches, everyone will be busy with general cleaning and preparing food and cakes. On Gawai Eve, glutinous rice is steamed in bamboo (ngelulun pulut). In the longhouse, new mats will be laid out on the ruai (an open gallery which runs through the entire length of the longhouse). The walls of most bilik (rooms) and the ruai are decorated with Pua Kumbu (traditional blankets). A visit to clean the graveyard is also conducted and offerings offered to the dead. After the visit it is important to bathe before entering the longhouse to ward off bad luck.

The celebration starts on the evening of 31 May. In most Iban longhouses, it starts with a ceremony called Muai Antu Rua (to cast away the spirit of greed), signifying the non-interference of the spirit of bad luck in the celebration. Two children or men each dragging a chapan (winnowing basket) will pass each family's room. Every family will throw some unwanted article into the basket. The unwanted articles will be tossed to the ground from the end of the longhouse for the spirit of bad luck.

Around 6 pm or as the sun sets, miring (offering ceremony) will take place. Before the ceremony, gendang rayah (ritual music) is performed. The Feast Chief thanks the gods for the good harvest, and asks for guidance, blessings and long life as he waves a cockerel over the offerings. He then sacrifices the cockerel and a little blood is used together with the offerings.

Once the offering ceremony is done, dinner is then served at the ruai. Just before midnight, a procession up and down the ruai seven times called Ngalu Petara (welcoming the spirit gods) is performed. During this procession, a beauty pageant to choose the festival's queen and king (Kumang & Keling Gawai) is sometimes conducted. Meanwhile, drinks, traditional cakes and delicacies are served.

At midnight, the gong is beaten to call the celebrants to attention. The longhouse Chief (tuai rumah) or Festival Chief will lead everyone to drink the Ai Pengayu (normally tuak for long life) and at the same time wish each other "gayu-guru, gerai-nyamai" (long life, health and prosperity). The celebration now turns merrier and less formal. Some will dance to the traditional music played, others will sing the pantun (poems). In urban areas, Dayaks will organise gatherings at community centres or restaurants to celebrate the evening.

Other activities that may follow the next few days include: cock-fighting matches, and blowpipe and ngajat competitions. On this day, 1 June, homes of the Dayaks are opened to visitors and guests.

Traditionally, when guests arrive at a longhouse, they are given the ai tiki as a welcome. From time to time, guests are served tuak. This would be called nyibur temuai which literally means "watering of guests". Gawai Dayak celebrations may last for several days. It is also during this time of year that many Dayak weddings take place, as it is one of the rare occasions when all the members of the community return home to their ancestral longhouse.

sources from : bidayuh dotcom, Dayak World, Bungai Pegrindu, Universal Bidayuh


BullShitter said...

OMG Ritchie's son, Ah Pok, is soooooo godddamn CUTE!!!!!!!!

I wish i can just kidnap him and bring him back. I'll post pics up soon!

maylin said...

shitti youuu....
dammit i din gt to see him!!