Joyous Gawai for Jugah Rayang longhouse folk


MIRI: Jugah Rayang longhouse in Sungai Maong, Kanowit was a hive of activities during the Dayak Harvest Festival (Gawai) on June 1.

FUN GAME: Walking-on-bricks competition.

FUN GAME: Walking-on-bricks competition.

In collaboration with the Village Security Development Committee (JKKK) and Maong Youth Association (PBM), the longhouse held a telematch and cultural night on May 30 to welcome the Dayak new year.

Revellers, led by PBM chairman Henry Jugah, who officiated at the celebration, themed this year’s Gawai ‘Segulai Sejalai Mai Pemansang’ (Together To Bring Progress), in line with the 1Malaysia concept.

The telematch saw competitions like futsal, sepak takraw, volley ball, Coconut bowling and walking-in-bricks while Belia headed by Awan Janting, Letan Ngong and Raymond Dungat contributed live band performance.

On Gawai eve on May 31, a ‘1Malaysia Beauty Contest’ was held for little girls while waiting for the clock to strike mid-night.

During this time, the revellers and guests gathered at the chief’s ‘ruai’ (common corridor in a longhouse) for a Gawai toast of Tuak (Iban traditional rice wine), followed by greetings of festive wishes to one another.

Before the Gawai toast, Jugah Rayang and Gawai leader Umpong Ali delivered their speeches to welcome everyone.

Assistant longhouse chief, Janting Ali, and advisor Ngindang Limbai also gave some talks on festive matters as well as advices to the residents and guests.

The merry-making and fun went on; while the young ones played fire crackers, the womenfolk prepared food to be served at the ruai of each household and the men saw to it that there were enough tuak and drinks.

Exactly at 1am on June 1, gong beating and ‘ngajat’ (Iban traditional dance) contests commenced and went on till 2am.

At 5am, a representative from every family presented a song to chip in to the longhouse’s Gawai Fund.

At 9am, ‘ngabang’ (visiting) session started where the folk and guests went from one ‘bilik’ (household room) to another until 5pm.

The celebration ended with prize presentations and lucky draws at night.

It was a real fun, joyous and memorable Gawai for the 300 residents of Jugah Rayang longhouse and friends and guests who came from far and nearby longhouses.