(This is Tuesday Tales, where we highlight folklores and personal stories from indigenous peoples from all across Borneo. These are stories shared with us. We strive to edit it to the best of our capabilities for your enjoyment. We welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Borneo Indigenous Communities End of Harvest Celebrations
Most of the indigenous peoples of Borneo that plant and cultivate rice celebrate their long and tedious endeavour at the end of the harvest. Here are some lesser known harvest celebrations by some of the smaller communities.
Compiled by: Adrian Jo Milang
#3 Irau Aco Lun Bawang
of the Lun Bawang people
Irau Aco Lun Bawang the annual harvest festival of the Lun Bawang community who originate from Central/Northern Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo. This is one of the hidden gems in the midst of many different occasions which happens at the end of May.
Irau was first started 33 years ago as an effort to celebrate the lost or forgotten practices of Lun Bawang culture and traditions. In contemporary times, it is celebrated in a more festival-like manner. The festival has been celebrated annually in Lawas, Sarawak. The large scale occasion comprises of different events such as beauty pageants, competitions and exhibitions of the community’s various culture and heritage elements.
The 15th Irau Aco Lun Bawang in 2002 had put on records a number of achievements like setting a Malaysia Book of Records for “The Biggest Lun Bawang Bamboo Band Performance”. Each Irau also has its own annual theme. An example of a theme for the 23rd edition is “Acheh Terawe, Acheh Lawe” which means “One vision, One direction”.
#4 Gawea Dayak Bidayuh
of the Bidayuh people
Gawea Dayak Bidayuh has a unique play in the decision of its date of celebration.
It is decided through the dream of the shamans in the community. Then the celebratory committee would seek their advice as to when the occasion begins. The occasion is filled with several rituals carried out by the dayung borih (lady shamans).
It is said that in one part of the ritual, the dayung borih would ‘pass away’ for a moment and crossover to the the spirit realm to visit their relatives, husbands and children with the spirits in which they are connected to. Another part is when the men would dance around a worship altar of sorts, filled with gifts and adornment for the spirits, to appease them for future harvest.
Other parts of the whole celebration is of course filled with festive ambience, with huge feasts, display of dances and other Bidayuh cultural traditions.