When the sounds of traditional music, the pungent smell of tuak and the bubbling fragrant smell of “ayam pansuh” fill the air – it is the time to celebrate the Gawai Dayak of Sarawak.
Text/Photos : Jessica Chan
Although the Gawai festival day is officially 1st of June, the celebration is usually held over several days in the villages. The Dayak people of Sarawek includes the Iban and Bidayuh whot carry out traditional ceremonies to thank the gods for a good harvest. Nowadays the Gawai is also an opportunity for family and friends reunion as more people have moved to other places due to work or some reasons.
Very often I have heard of Gawai festival but never had the chance to experience it as it would involve travelling to the longhouse of the interior. All these traditional ceremonies like Pun Ranyai, Miring and Ai Pengayu sounded very mystical to me and made me very curious. This year with the joint effort of Sarawak Tourism, Tourism Malaysia and Sarawak Cultural Village, the Gawai experience is easily within our reach. The Gawai package provides us the opportunity to experience and participate
in the traditional activities of the local people. The Gawai package includes meals and accommodation at the longhouse in Sarawak Cultural Village which is easily accessible from the city. This Gawai package is jam packed with programmes to keep us
occupied the whole day.
The programme started off with a trek on the Penan Trail through the pristine jungle behind the SCV. Although it is not an extreme trail, we were forewarned not to take it lightly. We were lead into the trail by the jungle experts who are the trained staff of SCV. The trail was rather interesting as the soil texture changed from hard soil to soft peat and different types of vegetation unveiled before us. One of the interesting features was the pitcher plants that grow on the ground unlike the ones that hang in the air.
The next program is a main highlight of the SCV, that is, the cultural performance. It is a spectacular performance of the various ethnic groups in Sarawak.
Text & Photo by Travelution