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Monday, May 30, 2011

Gawai Dayak celebration-BALIK KAMPUNG CROWD.

Heading home for Dayak Festival or Hari Gawai  @ Sibu express boat jetty.
Riverine transport services here have gone into overdrive to cope with the  heading home rush for Dayak Festival.
It has become a tradition of sorts for them to head home to celebrate the grand occasion with their families only at the last minute.
For folk heading home for the celebration in the upper reaches of the Rajang River, riverine transport remains the sole option to reach their destinations.
The scene at the express-boat wharf is a colourful one at the end of May as Gawai Dayak revellers crowd the place to catch boats home to Kapit and Song .
Sadly, this scenario will be another chapter in the history of Sibu when the road is completed as people will be able to travel by road, which is faster and easier.

With barely days to Gawai Dayak, chicken vendors are doing good business.Their round-the-clock business  will wrap up on May 31 when the Dayak community would have returned to their longhouses.


For a start, what is "Gawai Dayak" all about? In a simple word, it is a festival marking the end of a harvest season.
As with other festivals, "Gawai" has its own special characteristics and significances especially for the Dayak community of Sarawak.
Gawai marks the beginning of the New Year with the ending of the harvesting season and the upcoming activities connected with preparation for the new harvest season.
The festival is an occasion to rest after the strenuous work carried out over the past year and consists of both religious and social elements.
It is also an ideal occasion for the various Dayak races in Sarawak to display their rich heritage of traditions and customs and offers an excellent opportunity for people of other races to learn more of the customs and traditions of Dayaks of Sarawak.
Gawai is an occasion for the community to give its thanks to God for providing them with their daily needs over the past year and to pray for future blessings and religious guidance for the year ahead.
As a festival which is participated in by all sectors of the community, Gawai plays a role in strengthening the inter-communal relations of the people of Sarawak.
Various differences in the way Gawai Dayak is celebrated can be observed among the different Dayak races while difference can also be observed from one area to another. In the uran areas, the method by which Gawai Dayak is observed is different from the method in the interior regions where there is greater adherence to traditional forms of celebrating Gawai Dayak.
In both cases, the basic idea behind the Gawai festival is maintained - that of merry making and thanksgiving to God. 
I wish ALL by Dayak/Iban friends...."HAPPY DAYAK FESTIVAL" (Hari Gawai/Sarawak).
Photo by Awang using P&S (Lumix LX3).

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