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Gawai Dayak 2023 (Indonesia): Date, History, Significance, Activities, Facts

It is one of the most anticipated and thrilling events in these regions.

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Gawai Dayak
Gawai Dayak

Gawai Dayak 2023: Gawai Dayak is annually celebrated on June 1 and 2. The Dayak people of Sarawak, Malaysia, and West Kalimantan, Indonesia, hold an annual celebration. If you’re curious about the meaning of the appellation “Gawai Dayak,” don’t strain your intellect too much! ‘Gawai’ means ‘festival’ and ‘Dayak’ refers to the indigenous people of Sarawak, Indonesian Kalimantan, and the interior of Borneo. It is one of the most anticipated and thrilling events in these regions. How do they commemorate Gawai Dayak, and what is the festival’s cultural and religious significance? Here is all the information you need about Gawai Dayak.

Gawai Dayak 2023: History

Gawai Dayak signifies the conclusion of harvesting. The purpose of the celebration is to honour and revere the labour involved in harvesting. For example, it takes about four to five months to cultivate a grain of rice, yet we rarely consider its significance. The festival also symbolises the cohesion, aspiration, and optimism of numerous ethnic groups, including the Iban, Bidayuh, Kenyah, Kelabit, and Murut.

The Dawak people make elaborate preparations for the festival. In the days preceding the event, everyone will be busy cleaning, visiting graves, drying paddy, refining and collecting grain, and preparing food. Both men and women can don the traditional costume known as nigepan. The celebration will not begin until someone rings the gong at the stroke of midnight on June 1 to summon the guests to attend. Everyone will be led by the festival’s leader to consume Tuak, a locally produced rice liquor, for longevity.

Everyone will wish one another “gayu-guru, gerai-nyami,” which translates to “long life, health, and prosperity,” and the celebration will become less formal as people dance to traditional music and others recite ‘pantuns,’ or verses. The festivities differ from location to location. In May, communities and villages hold pre-Gawai Dayak celebrations prior to the advent of city dwellers.

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Gawai Dayak 2023: Activities

Join in the festivities

The finest way to celebrate Gawai Dayak is to participate in the festivities. This is your opportunity to organise a trip to Malaysia with family and friends to attend the festival.

Learn Ngajat

One of the incredible methods to commemorate Gawai Dayak is by learning Ngajat, the distinctive local dance. Learn the routines and perform them in honour of this special occasion.

Savour the sweets

Gawai Dayak is a harvest festival that features an abundance of wine, desserts, and other delights. Make space in your stomach for these delicious delights.

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Fun Facts

Rice wine is abundant at the festival.

Tuak, the native rice liquor, is a significant tradition during the festival.

There are also unique confections.

During the festival, desserts such as’sarang semut,’ ‘cuwan,’ ‘kui sepit,’ and ‘penganan iri’ are popular.

The distinctive Ngajat

Male performers donning large feathers will perform a unique performance called ‘Ngajat.’

An attractiveness contest

Throughout the festival, a beauty contest is conducted to select the monarch and queen.

Cock wrestling

The festival also features cockfights and blowpipe competitions.

Gawai Dayak 2023: Significance

Gawai Dayak is more than just a harvest festival. It is a celebration of the perspiration, time, and effort of the hardworking farmers who provide sustenance for the entire nation.

Gawai Dayak is a positive holiday whose purpose is not limited to promoting positivity. It also helps raise awareness of the effort and sacrifice involved in bringing sustenance to our tables.

Gawai Dayak affords us the ideal opportunity to embrace a fresh start. We enthusiastically greet the new harvest season and send farewell to the previous harvest season.

Gawai Dayak 2023: Dates

Year Date Day
2023 June 1 Thursday
2024 June 1 Saturday
2025 June 1 Sunday
2026 June 1 Monday
2027 June 1 Tuesday