The stages of this festival (Gawai Burong) are as follows, according to Sandin:
1. Enchaboh Arong is a feast for receiving the heads of enemies killed in war.
2. Gawai Kelingkang, the sacred pole is made of payan bamboo, about nine feet high, with a jar as its knot (bungkong) at the middle of the pole.
3. Mulong Merangau feast, the sacred pole is made from durian wood, and is cleverly carved like an old sago palm tree when all its fruit has fallen to the ground.
4. Gawai Sandong, the sacred pole is made from the selangking tree.
5. Gawai Lamba Bumbun, the sacred pole is made from the heart of the selangking tree.
6. Gawai Mudor Ruroh, the sacred pole is made of a bunch of spears, which have been used in fighting against the enemy in various wars.
7. Gawai Ranyai, the sacred pole is made from a bunch of warrior’s spears.
8. Gajah Meram feast, the pole is made of a strong wood with branches decorated with skulls and isang palm leaves, and
9. Gawai Gerasi Papa, the sacred pole is a statue of a demon hunter (antu gerasi papa).
The fine list for breaking ritual pole of Gawai Burong:
8. If anyone breaks the tiang sawi (ritual pole) used during the Bird Festival, the offender is fined sigi panding, $2.00, two chickens, a knife and an iron adze. The broken pole must be replaced immediately.
9. If anyone breaks the tiang sandong (ritual pole) used during the Gawai Burong festival, the offender is fined sigi alas muda, $4.00, a pig, a knife and an iron adze. The breaker must replace the pole immediately.
10. If anyone breaks the ritual poles, tiang sandau liau and tiang mulong merangau used during the Gawai Burong festival, the offender is fined a sow (babi sepa), a nyabor knife and sigi alas ngerang, $5.00. Again, the poles must be replaced immediately.
11. If anyone breaks a ritual pole, tiang ranyai, used during the Gawai Burong festival, the offender is fined as in No. 10 above.
12. If anyone breaks the ritual pole, tiang mudor ruroh, used during the Gawai Burong festival, the offender is fined two sows, a nyabor knife, and sigi rusa, $8.00. The breaker must replace the broken pole immediately.
For each stage of the gawai burong, a different pole called “tiang chandi” is built, on which the statue of hornbill is placed during the gawai feasts.
The materials for the construction of Tiang Chandi are as follows:
1) Gawai Kalingkang – payan bamboo, about nine feet high, with a jar attached in the mid of the pole, acting as its knot (bungkong);
2) Gawai Sandong – Selangking tree;
3) Gawai Sawi – illipeanut palm trunk (pinang) or core of durian trunk (kah rian);
4) Gawai Selangking or Lamba Bumbun, – the heart (kah) of the selangking tree;
5) Gawai Mulong Merangau, – durian wood and is cleverly curved like an old sago palm tree when all of its fruits has fallen to the ground;
6) Gawai Gajah Meram, – a strong wood with branches decorated with skulls and isang palm leaves;
7) Gawai Meligai,- decorated strong wood;
8) Gawai Ranyai or Mudur Ruruh,- a bunch of warriors’s spears which have been used in fighting the enemies in war and
9) Gawai Gerasi Papa, – constructed with a figure of a demon huntsman or antu gerasi papa curved on the top.
I was wondering if Gawai Kenyalang is indeed a once -off celebration of Gawai Burong? Gawai Burong with 9 stages may be quite expensive for normal longhouses except for a few which can afford the costs of holding 9 times of Gawai Burong. Can anyone comment on this?
Based on the statement below, it appears Gawai Kenyalang is indeed different from Gawai Burong but I wonder how to decide whether to celebrate Gawai Kenyalang first or then Gawai Burong?
Other than these stages or sub-festivals, another that must be mentioned here is the Gawai Ngaga Kenyalang (a festival held for the making of a Rhinoceros hornbill statue). In the Paku, Saribas, only chief Saang; Linggir, the son of Uyut “Bedilang Besi”; and Jiram “Rentap” celebrated this festival. The statue made by Saang was burnt by James Brooke and Captain Henry Keppel when they attacked Linggir “Mali Lebu” house at Paku in 1843. The one made by Jiram “Rentap” is now at Matop longhouse in the Paku, while the one made by Linggir, the son of chief Uyut’ “Bedilang Besi”, was burnt with the entire longhouse at Senunok in 1944.
In view of the statement below which relates the 9 stages of Gawai Burong to stages of the paddy cultivation, I was wondering which stage of paddy cultivation is related to each stage of Gawai Burong. I try to do the matching as below. Can anyone help to complete the matching?
(50) The Gawai Burong has nine ascending degrees. Each degree mirrors a stage in padi cultivation which, in turn, is a coven reference to the cults of headhunting and fertility, as discussed extensively by Julian Davison and Vinson H. Sutlive. Jr. in : Images of Headhunting and Male Sexuality in Iban Ritual and Oral Literature” (Davison and Sutlive 1986), My principal informant on the Gawai Burong is Temenggong Matthew Dana from Pelandok, Paku, Saribas.
For the ninth and last stage of Gawai Burong, the buah pua kumbu is Takang Gerasi Papa as stated below.
During Gawai Gerasi Papa, a sacred pole (Tiang Chandi) is constructed with the figure of Gerasi Papa sitting on top of it. It’s base is covered with Pua kumbu of the same motif or design where all the offerings are placed. It is believed that after the gawai ritual is over, the sacred pole comes alive spiritually. This hungry demon spirit will feed on human soul causing deaths to the longhouse occupant. That was why, prior to this particular festival, the house must also be prepared to be abandoned as soon as possible, before the palm leaves used in the celebration withered (layu).
Mengan wove the Takang Gerasi Papa. The tiang has a Gerasi Papa motif at the top. However, Mengan said that this pua can never be displayed in the longhouse. It can only be displayed IF the Gawai Gerasi Papa was celebrated BUT then the longhouse must be immediately abandoned.
5) Gawai Mulong Merangau or Lemba Bumbun – Buah lemba bumbun Tiang Sandong Betong, or Nibong Berayong
After “graduating,” Sendi devoted most of her weaving career to creating designs of the ranyai, or ritual shrine, which has at its center a ritual pole. The ritual shrine is erected during the prestigious Gawai Burong or ‘Festival to the Gods,’ often called the ‘Bird Festival,’ (45)
6) Gawai Gajah Meram – buah bali begajai Bali Bugau Kantu’, or Gajah Meram
Sendi wove the popular (35) design known as Bali Bugau Kantu’, the Enemy’s Cloth (36) after “graduating” (37) with her tenth pua’ kumbu. Although the original meaning of this design is unknown, the Bali Bugau Kantu’ has come to be known in the Saribas as retelling the legend of Remi whose brothers were murdered by the Kantu’; a story that instructs the Iban on the origin of mortuary rites (see Sandin 1994: 94-98).
7) Gawai Meligai – Pua’ Tengkebang, or Meligai
Tengkebang means ‘to create something new’ or ‘to reinvent an old design.’ Sendi wove this pua’ kumbu’ to represent the seventh degree of the Gawai Burong, called the Meligai which means ‘a shrine of beautiful offerings suspended from the branches of the Ranyai Sebayan.’
In this, her penultimate pua’ kumbu’, Sendi created a new interpretation of the terrifying demon, Gerasi Papa, or Ravenous Demon, otherwise known as Nising or Antu Beduru in the Saribas.
8) Gawai Ranyai or Mudur Ruruh – buah tangkai ranyai Tiang Ranyai, or Ranyai Beduju
Sendi’s final pua’ kumbu’, the Ranyai Beduju, is a visual celebration of Iban cosmology. It shows the earthly ritual shrine of the eighth degree, the Tiang Ranyai (upper half, or indu’ buah kemudi) as well as the spiritual Ranyai Beduju that flourishes in Sebayan (lower half or indu ‘buah pun).
9) Gawai Gerasi Papa – buah begerasi
(50) The Gawai Burong has nine ascending degrees. Each degree mirrors a stage in padi cultivation which, in turn, is a coven reference to the cults of headhunting and fertility, as discussed extensively by Julian Davison and Vinson H. Sutlive. Jr. in “The Children of Nising: Images of Headhunting and Male Sexuality in Iban Ritual and Oral Literature” (Davison and Sutlive 1986), My principal informant on the Gawai Burong is Temenggong Matthew Dana from Pelandok, Paku, Saribas.
(51) These are: 1) Gawai Kalingkang, 2) Gawai Sandong. 3) Gawai Sawi, 4) Gawai Selangking, 5) Gawai Mulong Merangau or Lemba Bumbun or Sandong Betong, 6) Gawai Gajah Meram, 7) Gawai Meligai, 8) Gawai Ranyai or Mudor Ruroh, and 9) Gawai Gerasi Papa.
(52) The Bali Belumpong (Divided Cloth), the Bali Kelikut (Blanket of Kumang), the Pua’ Jugam (Black Cloth), and the Bali Menyeti (Beautiful Cloth) are a rank below the designs reserved for the Gawai Burong. The Lebor Api (Blazing Fire) has equal status to any degree of the ritual shrine design as it is used for the Gawai Enchaboh Arong, a preliminary degree of the Gawai Burong.
(53) Sendi wove four degrees of the ritual shrine textiles, beginning with the fifth degree Tiang Sandong Betong (Fig. 12), followed by the sixth degree Gajah Meram (Fig. 7), then the seventh degree Meligai (Fig. 15) and finally the penultimate eighth degree Ranyai Beduju (Fig. 22).
I try to match the 9 stages of Gawai Burong with their buah pua kumbu which is used to cover (nyerayong) their tiang chandi pole as below using the Gerijih-Sandin list. Can anyone help to complete the list?
1) Gawai Kalingkang – buah? 2) Gawai Sandong – buah tiang sandong 3) Gawai Sawi – buah? 4) Gawai Salangking – buah? 5) Gawai Mulong Merangau or Lemba Bumbun – buah lemba bumbun 6) Gawai Gajah Meram – buah bali begajai 7) Gawai Meligai – buah? 8) Gawai Ranyai or Mudur Ruruh – buah tangkai ranyai 9) Gawai Gerasi Papa – buah begerasi
Quoted from page 17 GAWAI ANTU (Iban Feast of the Departed) by Henry Grijih at Rumah Bawin, Samu Paku
On certain occasion the Dayak like to honour once again an ancestor who has already been honoured at the last Gawai Antu. This is permitted but is rare and only done to honour the most famous or war leader or hereditary chief of the tribe.
On this second feast the deceased is entitled to be honoured with seven baskets neatly woven together known as ranggong tujuh (sometimes called “Mudor Ruroh”). The ranggong tujuh will have fourteen projections for its stand and be thickly decorated with the hair of the enemy.
If the deceased has twice been honoured at the Gawai Antu, his grand children are still permitted to honour him again for a third time. However, this sort of honour can only be permitted to be given to a war leader or hereditary chief of the tribe.
For his third and last memorial, he is entitled to be honoured with nine baskets called ranggong sembilan (sometimes called “sandau liau”). This basket will have fifteen projections for its stand and is also heavily decorated with the enemy’s hair.