Lun Bawang festival to bring cheer to Lawas

LAWAS, a sleepy town in the northern tip of Sarawak, is set to come alive from May 30 during the three-day Irau Aco Lun Bawang or Lun Bawang Festival.

Held annually for 23 years, the festival this year is organised by Sarawak Lun Bawang Association in collaboration with the Limbang Resident Office and the Tourism and Heritage Ministry.

This edition promises a three-day extravaganza showcasing the unique cultural heritage of the Lun Bawang community, said organising chairman Willy Liau.

Apart from booths featuring handicraft and food, there would be sport events, a ngiup bas and suling (bamboo musical instrument orchestra) competition, cultural parade, nightly live music and dance shows.

“The highlight will be the Ruran Ulung (maidens) and Padan Liu Burung (warriors) pageants,” he told a press conference in Kuching.

Liau said that various Lun Bawang villages in Lawas, Sabah, Brunei and Indonesia had been invited to participate in the festival.

Sarawak Lun Bawang Association secretary general Daneil Punang said the best group from the bamboo orchestra contest would represent the Lun Bawang community at the national Gawai Dayak celebration.

The festival’s main objective was to attract visitors to Lawas, preserve and maintain the Lun Bawang traditions, and promote unity among the communities in Lawas, he added.

The Lun Bawang are among the indigenous people in Sarawak collectively known as Orang Ulu.

They are found in Limbang Division, the interior of Sabah, Temburong District of Brunei and east Kalimantan.

In Sabah, they are called Lun Dayeh.

Lun Bawang means “people of the interior”.

When the British governed Sarawak, the Lun Bawang were often listed as Murut, but the Lun Bawang insisted they were distinct from the Murut, an ethnic group in Sabah.

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