Tuesday Tales #13: End of Harvest (Part 3)

(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 hello@thetuyang.com)

Ngiling Bidai & Ngiling Tikai
Origin:  Sarawak Iban Communities
As told by: Suzy Imbah (Entawau, Kapit Iban)
Edited by: Adrian Jo Milang
Image credit: Ali Mohamad

Here are two similar but different practices, in which one is no lesser in significance than the other.

It marks the closure of a well celebrated, tedious and long paddy harvest of each year, as the saying goes all good things must come to an end. More often than not, Ngiling Bidai and Ngiling Tikai are deemed as the same thing. 

As told by the Iban community of Sarawak, the tradition of Ngiling Bidai is carried out after grander Gawai celebrations such as Gawai KelingkangGawai Kenyalang and others of the sort.

A little bit about Gawai Kelingkang to elaborate on its significance – in days of old its begotten from a good dream from one of the villagers about their community.

Therefore, they would make a square basket out of bamboo hence the kelingkang, to put their offerings in for the spirits that has brought them the good omen through dream. Two to three days before this Gawai Kelingkang the community would anchau (roll out) their bidai mats, which of course is to serve each other with hospitality, as they make their way from bilik to bilik (equivalent to individual “apartment” unit in a longhouse) or in other words ngabang (visiting each “apartment” unit). 

Then after two or three days of the celebration is rolled up again hence ngiling bidai.    

On the other hand, after the celebration which we have all come to know, the Gawai Dayak, which is often carried out for weeks but no more than a month, the tikai would be placed all over on the verandah of each bilik as done with the bidai. Then, when the day of the end of the long celebration is decided, the tikai mat is rolled up again, awaiting for the time to be out again. 

The difference between the two type mats mentioned are, the bidai is made out of rattan and tree bark while the tikai could be made out of any suitable forest produce such as rattan and bemban

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