The End Of The Festival

1. Miau ka manok kena Ketanju – waving of the cock to announce the ceremony at the open varendah. The gawai chief waves a cock and announces the second event on the open varendah is about to happen, as on the previous day and invited every guest to gather at the tanju.

2. Miring - dividing the offerings. This is performed by the warrior groups who prepare seven offerings on seven trays at the tanju. When finished, it is covered using the best pua kumbu blankets placed carefully over it. These offerings are placed at the foot of the ritual pole, and some of the offerings are hung at each end of the longhouse roof. While miring is going on, the bards once more bring the skull and the hornbill statue to the tanju accompanied by their ritual song called timang antu pala and timang Kenyalang respectively, same as what was done on the previous day.

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Gawai Burong: Ari Nyadi

The Festival Day

At about 7.00 am early next morning, a traditional cockfight takes place on the open-air varendah or tanju of the gawai chief. This is followed by the morning meal. After the meal, a ceremony to drive away bad spirit, similar to the previous day, is conducted. Then the old head trophy or skulls in the longhouse is taken down from their respective cluster and brought to the feast chief’s varendah (ruai) in a winnowing basket, which contains the offerings.

Shortly after the skulls have been brought to the feast chief’s varendah, one man kills a chicken and smears its blood on the sacred hornbill statue (Kenyalang) at the loft (sadau) of the longhouse. As he smears it with blood, he shouted three times. Then the statue is carried down to the feast chief varendah and is placed near the skulls.

1. Nyambut Pengabang (welcoming the guest)
When the invited guest arrives from their respective longhouse at the host-landing place, they are assembled and welcomed in the same manner as the warriors and the bards earlier. But the individual share of rice wine served to the Warleader, Penghulus and Tuai Rumah are different. Warleader are given 18 glasses of rice wine, Penghulus 17 and the longhouse headmen 12 glasses. Other people receive 8 or 9 glasses each.

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Malam Nimang Pantar

The Night Of Nimang Pantar

The eve of the feast is known as Malam Nimang Pantar, where the bards bless the seats with ritual songs.

1. Ngerandang Jalai
Clearing a path the length of the varendah for the bards to sing along. After an evening meal is over, at about 9.00 pm, an influential man of the longhouse performs a berayah dance known as ngerandang jalai. The purpose is to clear the spiritual obstacles from the path along the whole longhouse varendah accompanied by gendang rayah music, and he traverses the varendah not more than three times.

2. Ngelalau
Enclosing the path already cleared. After ngerandang jalai dance is over, another important man performs the rayah dance to erect the lalau, a spiritual fence along the varendah so that the soul of the bards will not stray away as they perform. If this is the first time the people of the longhouse celebrated the Gawai Burong, the chief bard will lead his followers to perform the Ngiga Tanah Alai Berumah chants (looking for a suitable land for a house site). If the longhouse has celebrated the festival before, the lead bard will lead his followers to chant themed Ngerara Rumah (To recite why the house is made ready for a grand festival).

3. Ngading Iyang Lemambang
Invocations of the bard’s guardian spirits.

4. Nyerayong Pandong
Covering the shrine with pua kumbu.

5. Lemambang belaboh mengap niti rumah
The bards begin to sing their chants along the house varendah.

6. Beranchau Tikai
Spreading of the mats.

7. Lemambang berunsut ngena ubat enda layu
The bards anoint their body with charms to prevent themselves from being cursed by anyone or spirits.

8. Ngerintai Tuai Laut
Naming the spiritual Malay chiefs invited to the feast.

9. Ngerintai Tuai Dayak
Naming of the spiritual Dayak leaders to the feast.

10. Ngerintai Tuai Orang Panggau
Calling upon the spirits chiefs of Orang Panggau to the feast.

11. Ngerintai Tuai Orang Gellong
Calling upon the spirits chiefs of Orang Gellong to the feast.

12. Ngalu Petara
Welcoming the invited spirits to the feast. This event is a procession called ngalu Petara to the feast. It is led by the warrior who will divide the offerings (Tukang Nasak), followed by a master ceremony who will announce the purpose of the procession along the route, followed by two senior women, one carrying a plate of pop-rice which she will sprinkle along the route and another lady carrying a plate of offerings. They are followed by a band of festively dressed young men and girls from every family in the longhouse who carry rice wine. Behind them walk the musicians who play gendang panjai on the drums and gong.

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