Joyous Gawai Dayak Celebration

Joyous Gawai Dayak Celebration

The Gawai Dayak celebration in Kampung Triboh was celebrated with the residents at Panglima Kalin Public Hall, Kampung Triboh on 31 May 2011. According to Ida Miriga, the Library Assistant of Kampung Triboh Rural Library, the celebration was held on the night of 31 May starting with the ngetas ranyai ritual led by the council head. While waiting for midnight, the residents drank the pengayu water and dine while being entertained with traditional dances such as the ngajat and songs by the village youth. The ngetas ranyai ritual was an ancient custom of the Iban which had been practised for generations. It denoted thanksgiving and marked the start of the Gawai Dayak celebration.

According to Ida, the festive season was a chance for family members to ngabang or visit their relatives and strengthens the relationships between them. Apart from the ngetas ranyai ritual, there were several other rituals or customs that were practised during the Gawai Dayak celebration such as the Mupu Kenyalang. This ritual was performed by a group of men and women. They would visit all the houses in Kampung Triboh to meet and shake hands with the host. In this event, every home would have to donate at least RM5.00 to the head of the group that went to their house.

The money was collected for the village fund. With a total of 133 houses in Kampung Triboh, the two groups comprising 20 members would have to complete the ritual within a day. In addition to raising funds, the ritual also provided an opportunity for the residents to mutually interact and as a mark of blessing to the host as well as to enliven the festive atmosphere. During the Gawai Dayak celebration at Kampung Triboh, the Geliga Ritual was also adopted and adhered to by all the residents from the start of the Gawai festival until the closing event, also known as the ngiling tikai ritual.

The announcement on the Geliga custom was made on the night of 31 May by the customary head whereby several rules were set in order to maintain the harmony in the village. The implementation of the custom was to ensure there was no unrest. If some of the villagers were involved in a fight or violated the stipulated regulations, then they would be fined and required to pay money. However, if the disturbance was caused by residents from other villages, the party would still be fined under the Geliga ritual implemented in Kampung Triboh. It was an old tradition that became a practice in the village in an effort to protect the people during the Gawai Dayak celebration. (KK10: 29 June 2011)

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 January 2012 04:34


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