Friday, June 1, 2007

Gawai Dayak

Today (1st of June) is Gawai Dayak. It is a public holiday in Sarawak.

Gawai Dayak is a festival celebrated both as religious and social occasion. The word Gawai means ritual or festival. Dayak is a collective name for native races in Sarawak: the Iban, Biduyuh, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelibit, Mulut people and a few more. According to historical records, Gawai Dayak started in 1957 by Mr. Ian Kingsley, a radio programme organiser. It generated a lot of interest among the Dayak community.

I went for Gawai visit this morning with my GM and some other staff to Kg. Tutus. The kampung (in BM, means village) is accessible by road, albeit only of plantation estate gravel-covered standard.

We went to John's (our security supervisor) , Renang's(our assistant bell captain) and their relatives' houses.They all served tuak(rice wine) and traditional delicacy like penganan(cake). John also prepared roasted glutinous rice in bamboo (called ngelulun pulut), chicken curry, beef curry and mixed vegetables for us. The longhouse folks also entertained us with the traditional music at the ruai (an open gallery which runs through the entire length of the longhouse). We had a wonderful day of visiting.

Malaysia is blessed with racial harmony which many other countries admire. Visits during festive occasions among racial groups is one way to maintain harmonious relationships between races. We have to keep up this tradition.

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