Gawai Dayak


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Gawai Dayak

Late May to early June
Gawai Dayak is a rice harvest festival of the Dayak people of Sarawak, Malaysia, on the northern coast of Borneo. Some aspects of the celebrations have remained essentially the same for centuries. They take place in longhouses, the bamboo-and-palm-leaf structures built on stilts that are shared by 20 or 30 families. At midnight on the eve of Gawai Dayak, a house elder conducts the chief ritual: while sacrificing a white cock, he recites a poem to ask for guidance, blessings, and a long life. Other events include the selection of the most beautiful man and woman to be king and queen of the harvest, dancing, a feast of rice, eggs, and vegetables, and the serving of traditional tuak, rice wine.
CONTACTS:
Sarawak Tourism Board
6th & 7th Fl., Bangunan Yayasan Sarawak
Jalan Masjid Kuching
Yayasan Sarawak, 93400 Malaysia
6082-423-600; fax: 6082-416-700
www.sarawaktourism.com
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Jun 2
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 132
References in periodicals archive ?
sponsor ritual festivals, instead celebrating the official Gawai Dayak Festival held on 1st June every year.
Each year, the former head-hunting tribes of Sarawak, Borneo, come together for the Gawai Dayak festival, the biggest celebration in their calendar and, indeed, history.
The official start for the Gawai Dayak is June 1, though a full month of intense preparations precede the event.
Those returning for the 1-2 June Gawai Dayak celebration will also be given a health alert card and a pamphlet on the disease.
Amidst strong opposition in the august house, she fought for a special day of celebration for the Dayaks to be known as Gawai Dayak Day.
Gawai Dayak has not won as wide acceptance among the Iban of the Methodist area, however, as it coincided with the time after the harvest when gawai batu would normally be celebrated.
There has been a resurgence in celebrations of traditional gawai, as well as the universal celebration of Gawai Dayak, with large quantities of alcohol being consumed.
The last time I saw Ibu Dindu was at Kerangan Pinggai during the 2003 Gawai Dayak celebrations.
It covers political events, sports and cultural celebrations such as Gawai Dayak.
Gawai Dayak is a mass event celebrated in towns and longhouses across Sarawak.
In 1968 Andria Ejau put out Batu Besundang, a morality novella (ensera kelulu) that opens with a government-appointed native chief (Pengulu) instructing the residents of a remote longhouse on the proper way of celebrating Gawai Dayak, the annual pan-Dayak Festival invented by the Iban-led government in 1965 to match the Malay and Chinese festivities.
At the same time, there is also a demand for the production of new, large-scale compositions for important social occasions, the main one being the annual State Gawai Dayak celebration.