KUCHING: The 2019 state-level Gawai Dayak celebrations which start end of this month and run until end of June will include activities to portray the authenticity of the festival celebrated by the Dayaks in Sarawak.
The event’s main committee chairman Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said it is the turn of the Bidayuh community to host the celebrations this year and the theme chosen is ‘Indi Awang, Indi Asung’ (one heart, one mind).
Uggah pointed out that unlike previous years’ celebrations there will be ‘Authentic Gawai’ activities to be held at four areas; namely Kampung Duyuh, Bau on May 30 and 31; Annah Rais (Padawan/ Penrissen) on May 31 and June 1; Pueh (Lundu) on June 2; and Pichin (Serian) on June 29.
In addition to that, there is also the Bau District Gawai Festival at the Bau Civic Centre on June 22.
Among the activities to be held at these venues are traditional games, traditional musical instrument performances, and Gawai-related traditions and rituals unique to the Bidayuh community.
“These Gawai celebrations at these areas will be promoted as tourism products in line with Visit Sarawak Year 2019. The selected villages are also villages which have homestays (for tourists and visitors to stay),” he told a press conference after chairing the main committee’s second meeting yesterday.
He also said the highlight of this year’s celebrations will be the 2019 Gawai Dayak Dinner at Imperial Hotel Kuching where the invited guests of honour are Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib.
Also invited are Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, deputy chief ministers and other cabinet ministers.
“At the 2019 Gawai Dayak Dinner, 10 tables will be allocated for tourists and this will be coordinated by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports and Sarawak Tourism Board,” he added.
He also said that preparations for the celebrations have been going on smoothly under the working committee chaired by Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin.
The closing ceremony in the evening of June 29 at Awah Gawai Kampung Pichin will also see the passing of baton to next year’s hosts, the Orang Ulu community.
Yesterday’s main committee meeting was also attended by Manyin, Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi, acting State Secretary Datu Jaul Samion, assistant ministers, Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) president Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, Federation of Orang Ulu Associations of Sarawak, Malaysia (Forum) president Antonio Kahti Galis and chairmen of the respective sub committees.