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.
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.
As the procession goes up and down the varendah, a senior guest asks what the procession is for. The master ceremony replies that it is to welcome the invited guest from Panggau Libau, Gellong, the spirit of the Malay chiefs as well as the spirit of the iban ancestors to the feast.
The senior guest will then reply the master ceremony assuring him that the spirits mentioned has already arrived saying,
Petara amat udah datai.
Sida mai ubat serangkap genap,
mai pengaroh gembar tuboh,
ngasoh bumai bulih padi,
ngasoh bedagang menang babeli,
enggau ngasoh gerai nyamai nguan menoa.
This question and replies are repeated at every varendah of the longhouse occupant during the procession.
13. Ngiga Orang diasoh ngambi Sengalang Burong ngabang
Looking for the young men to send invitation to Sengalang Burong to the feast. The chief bards and his followers started a pengap chant narrating the process of choosing able-bodied spiritual guest to invite Sengalang Burong to the feast from his home in the dome of the sky. Their narratives covers the followings:
- Bujang Lelayang seduai Bujang Kesulai Begari deka nurun ngambi ngabang -Â A swift bird and a butterfly dressed themselves to fetch Sengalang Burong.
- Ambai mekal seduai enggau ubat – their sweetheart equip them with charm.
- Bujang Lelayang seduai Bujang Kesulai nurun ngejang ka rumah -Â a swift bird and a butterfly depart the longhouse.
- Datai ba menoa bunsu ribut – arrival at the country of the God of WindÂ where they seek his help in sending out the invitation to Sengalang Burong Home in the sky.
- Bunsu Ribut ngambi ngabang – The God of Wind sends out the festival invitation.
At this juncture, the bards end their ritual chant for the night of the nimang pantar.