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gawai dayak

Men with decorating skills make split bamboo designs. Gawai Dayak comes from Gawai meaning festival and Dayak a collective name for the indigenous peoples of Sarawak , Indonesian Kalimantan and the interior of Borneo. There are reed mats woven with colourful designs, lampit rattan mats, bidai tree bark mats and peradani mats. Just before midnight, a spirit-welcoming procession Ngalu Petara is performed several times up and down the gallery. If you have never visited East Malaysia, this is definitely a good time to visit Sarawak and have a taste of its local culture and be a part of the festivity. A procession to welcome the spirits known as Ngalu Petara ensues with a procession walking up and down the entire length of the longhouse. Gawai Antu, Iban Feast of the Departed.

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Gawai Dayak – Wikipedia

The feast chief will thank the gods for the good harvest, ask for guidance, blessings and long life as he sacrifices a cockerel. The meat is first mixed with traditional herbs like lemon grassgingerbungkang leaves and salt. They may seem scary because of their representation as headhunters but they are kind at heart. After all the daywk sets are completed, the chief of the festival thanks the gods for a good harvest, and asks for guidance, blessings and long life as he waves a daayk over the offerings bebiau.

Dinner will then be served, while everyone talks and mingles awaiting for midnight.

The male dance shows strength and bravery and may imitate the movements gaawi a hornbill which is regarded as the king of worldly birds. The seat is raised and the tanju verandah wall is used as the back rest. Preserved in a jar, these heads were kept as family heirnooms by the Dayak people and were used during traditional ceremonies. The celebration starts on the evening of 31 May with a ceremony called Muai Antu Rua to cast away the spirit of greedinesssignifying the non-interference of the spirit of bad luck in the celebrations.


The population estimate is two to four million people. The term Dayak, is a loose term used to describe more than ethnic subgroups of native people who live on the island of Borneo, the largest island in Asia.

For most of these traditional festivals, sacred invocation and incantations called pengap or timang are performed through the night by a bard and his assistants. Heirloom jars, brassware and old human skulls obtained during headhunting raids, if still kept, are cleaned and displayed.

Although officially it is only a two-day public holiday, the celebration often goes on continuously for over a fortnight. The male and female dances consist of graceful and precise movements of the body, hands and feet with occasional shouts of a battle cry. The cakes can last well whilst kept inside a jar because they are deep-fried until hardened. After eating, the families of the longhouse are visited by guests.

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GAWAI DAYAK FESTIVAL – Tourism Malaysia Corporate Site

Tracing its roots back to as early asthe Gawai Dayak festival was formally gazetted on 25 September, as a public holiday in place of Sarawak Day. The mode of celebrations of Gawai Dayak vary from place to place and preparations begin early. Mistakes and quarrels are forgiven. Although these peoples have common traits, each have their own dialectcustoms, sayak, territory and culture.

The addition of pandan leaves gives a special aroma. Sometimes, Christian Dayaks would go to church for mass and gather after that for a celebration over dinner.

What you need to know about: Hari Gawai

This is because the cake is lifted from the hot frying oil while not fully hardened. Others will recite pantun poetry. Some traditional baskets are also seen. This page was last edited on 17 Aprilat Some engage in cockfighting.


National Gawai Dayak 2019 celebration in Bintulu, May 17-19

Berunsur cleansing is performed at the family tanju verandah. Then, when the guests are seated, further rounds of tuak as a washing drink ai basuprofit drink ai untong and respect drink ai basa are given. After that, a guest prayer biau pengabang is recited by a talented speaker like the headman or the lemambang bard while he sways holding a chicken over the heads of guests. This activity is called the watering of guests or “nyibur temuai”.

Preparations cayak the festival begin early with brewing of tuak rice wine and traditional delicacies like penganan cakes from rice flour, sugar and coconut milk.

Gawai Dayak is one of the best times to visit Sarawak as the festivities are aplenty and the lifestyle comes alive, embracing visitors within the celebrations.