Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dayak community in Sarawak to usher in Gayak Fest on June 1

By Magdalene Rogers

KUCHING - The ethnic Dayak community in Sarawak will again usher in the celebration of the end of the harvesting season or the Gawai Dayak come June 1.

Here, the local celebrants comprising the Ibans and Bidayuhs could be seen busy doing their last-minute shopping and preparing for their way back to their longhouses or villages that are situated typically in the outskirts of the city.

George Harri, 28, and his brother, Charles, 30, are amongst the hundreds of the community who would either drive their way back for the celebration or take the express buses or boats.

Harri, who works in a bank here, told the Bulletin here that the brothers would make it a point every year to join their other siblings and relatives back in their Bidayuh village of Quop, located some 10 km from here.

"It is somewhat tradition for us to do that as most of us, there are two other older sisters and their own families, barely have the time to go back to the kampung (village) as work takes up most of our time...," he said.

During the celebration, Harri said the entire family would hold an open house in their late grandad's 50-year-old house, which has so far been renovated and refurbished, for friends and relatives to visit.

"We will serve the usual lemang (glutinous rice) and so far, there is no one to do the tuak (or rice wine) so we got to make up for that with the more modern serving of beer and the soft drinks. There is, of course, plenty of curry and merry-making such as dancing till late or we have our own karaoke session," he said.

Meanwhile, the locals would have a Gawai Dayak public holiday on the eve and on the day itself and most are also already making plans to visit their Dayak friends, despite having to drive long-distance.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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