|2018||1 June||Fri||Gawai Day||Sarawak|
|1 June||Sat||Gawai Day||Sarawak|
The Grand Celebration of Gawai Dayak In Malaysia
Malaysia is rightly known as the melting pot of festivals and cultural celebrations. The number of occasions followed by the people of Malaysia lends colour to the Malaysian calendar. Throughout the year people stays enthusiastic about the celebration of various cultural and religious occasions. One such occasion is the celebration of Gawai Dayak which is also known as the ‘Dayak festival.’ It is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Borneo people of Sarawak.
All about the Festival Gawai Dayak
The occasion of Gawai Dayak is a multi-day festival which is mainly celebrated on the first day of June every year. However the necessary preparations began to take place as early as on the evening of May 31st. Gawai Dayak is followed by both the city and village people all across Sarawak. The festival is celebrated to pay honor to the indigenous people. It is a festival that celebrates hope, aspiration and unity and marks the end of a rich period of harvest while welcoming another year of goodness.
Gawai Dayak is a collective term that is used to define the people belonging from different cultures such as Bidayuh, Iban, Kelabit, Murut and Kenyah. The first ever Gawai Dayakfestival was celebrated in the year 1965 which witnessed colourful rituals, cock fighting, traditional music and a number of games along with grand feasting. During the time of the festival the people dresses up in traditional costumes while the elderly people perform the traditional dance. However, the manner of the festivity may differ from place to place but, the usual preparations remain the same.
Celebration Of Gawai Dayak Festival
The main highlights of the manner of celebration of Gawai Dayak festival comprises of the following:
- As we already know that the usual preparation of the festival starts on the evening of 31st May, it is marked by a ceremonial rite called the ‘Muai Antu Rua’ which roughly translates the ritual of casting away the spirit of greed.
- After, which as the sun sets that is around 6pm, an offering rite is performed.
- Once the offering rite has taken place, dinner is served at the ruai. After that a procession called the ‘Ngalu Petara’ is performed seven times up and down the ruai in order to welcome the spirit God.
- Upon the completion of the procession ceremony, the gong is beaten at midnight to attract the attention of the celebrants. The people are then lead by the Gawai Festival Chief to drink the ‘Ai Pengayu’ or tuak drink along with wishing everyone ‘gayu-guru,gerai-nyamai’ which translates to long life, health and prosperity.
After all the necessary ceremonies have taken place, the celebration becomes less formal where some play music while others may dance or sing poems. This manner of Gawai festival celebration is mainly followed by the village people. Whereas, the people from urban areas are concerned they may call for a gathering in a restaurant or at a community centre and celebrate the evening with joy.