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.

After the skull has been placed on the winnowing basket (chapan) and the hornbill statue placed closed to the skulls, gendang rayah music is played, while the leading warriors (raja berani) performed the ngerandang jalai dance circling the tanju three times to clear the space off the evil spirits. Then followed by a rayah dance performed by ordinary warrior (bujang berani) known as ngelalau, also circling the tanju three times. This serves to fence the path already cleared by the raja berani warriors earlier. Shortly after ngelalau dance, older men representing each longhouse invited to the gawai, perform another dance, which is called Berayah Pupu Buah Rumah. They encircle the tanju three times as was previously done.

After the dances are over, one of the most influential war leaders recites a long sampi or prayer, inviting Sengalang Burong and his followers to come down from haven to attend the feast. As he recites this prayer, gendang pampat music is played. Another man beats an iron adze (bendai) inviting the spirits including the spiritual war heroes from Panggau Libau and Gellong world to join the feast. The invited guest like the warleader, hereditary chiefs and community elders has been seated in their respective place of honour during this part of the ceremony.

In this event, the warriors eat raw or half-roasted chicken and pork meat at the foot of the ritual pole. This is done to encourage the invited spirits, who are believed to have come to do likewise, as a show of fearlessness, bravery or courage especially among the warrior groups. Food and rice wine are continuously served throughout this event. Fearsome war cries can be heard frequently as the event climaxed.

Eventually, as the ceremony comes to an end, the bards carried the smoked skulls and the sacred hornbill statue inside the longhouse again. The statue is brought by the bard into individual family room to bless each family as they chant their ritual timang Kenyalang song. The bard, who bears the skull, will leave the skull at the Gawai Chief varendah (ruai) inside a winnowing basket and they themselves (without the skull) will enter individual family room chanting the timang antu pala songs.

While other bards performed the timang Kenyalang and timang antu pala chant at individual family room, another bard who sang the Gawai Burong festival songs (pengap) during the previous night, start to bless one woman from each family. These women have been gathered and seated in line on the pantar of the Gawai chief varendah (ruai). This event is called Denjang Indu (the blessings of the women). The songs may be repeated many times, as they need to bless these women representatives individually and may take considerable time.

3. Ngamboh – forging war knives for the gawai host. Following the bedenjang ceremony, the bards chant another song to symbolises forging (ngamboh) of the war knives for the host. Other chants including ngiga tanah (to look for suitable farming land) to symbolise the blessing for good farming years to come. The final chant by the bards would be the mulai ka samengat (sending back the spirits and the souls) to the Peak of Rabong Mountain, the domain of the spirit and souls of the bards and shamans.

After the bards have finished chanting their ritual songs, the feast chief waves a cock along the varendah to announce that the feast has ended. Their respective owners have returned all skulls presented during the festival to their former places, and the hornbill statue returned to their honourable place at their owner’s loft for reuse in future.

After the conclusion of the ceremony, the people of the host longhouse will avoid normal work for seven days. Gendang rayah music is played every day before sunset to invite universal spirits to visit the house and give their blessings during these seven-day periods.

At the end of seventh day, the ritual-offering pole (tiang chandi or kalingkang) is dismantled and the cordyline palm (sabang) is planted on the upriver side of the house as a mark of respect to commemorate the festival just completed.


8 thoughts on “The End Of The Festival”

  1. Thx u Uchu Keling coz post nuan kali tuk dah muka mata enggau runding aku pasal adat Iban. Maioh amat utai enda temu aku tuk, nyadi Iban ngapa rugi amat enti ngelengka ke main adat asal kitai. Dini alai Iban diau ba atas muka bumi tuk araop ke sida meruan ingat ke jako enggau culture diri empu. Enti bisi gambar manah agoi, coz aku deka ngasoh kwn aku ari canada macha ia, ia akan datai maia gawai ila.

  2. Sigi nya meh tuju kami duai unggal GN Mawar. Bekunsi ke penemu ke bisi pasal adat kitai Iban.

  3. This article is to open up and share the knowledge on Iban cultural heritage to the ‘world’, its origin and maybe to chart its future practices. You are encourage to inform your friends of this articles for them to better understand us ‘Iban’ as a society. Enjoy your reading.

  4. Nama kabuah mali merakak pump tauke daun sabang? Enggai ke burut ko… Is it because to show respect for the sabang palm which is planted for this ritual?

  5. Aku ka ninga ke penemu bala mayuh pasal adat NGUAI maya ti ka jadi melaki bini, laban bisi sekeda madah adat NGUAI tu nyau enda “praktikal” kemaya ari tu. Sekeda madah, ke pemuas bebatak sapa ti patut NGUAI, ngujung tau enda jadi melaki bini.

  6. Sigi enda praktikal meh kemaiatu, laban dini alai kitai berumahtangga, dia meh kitai mati serta di tumbak. Tang enti kitai sigi deka niri ngetan ke adat tu, nadai salah disebut maia ke berandau nanya indu. Tau di sebut “seduai tu mai adat nguai tengahari” – means independance and welcomes both side of the family to attend to maia ke lantang serta tusah.

    Tau ga di sebut, aku nguai ke iya ngambi be bisi ngibun apai indai maia ke tuai, eventhough we all share the responsibility.

    I opinion is, we maintain the adat and adapt to the modern economics of living.

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