Extra long holidays a boon for Sarawak folk


  • Nation
  • Monday, 27 May 2019

KUCHING: This year will see Sarawakians delighting in double festivities with Gawai Dayak on Saturday and Hari Raya Aidilfitri, expected to fall on June 5.

Dayaks as well as Malays will take advantage of the holidays to celebrate the joyous occasions with their loved ones.

Marketing officer Emerlda Sibut said she celebrated Gawai Dayak at the Margaret Jara Manggut longhouse in Machan, Kanowit.

Like many Sarawakians going back to their home towns, she endures a seven-hour drive on the Pan Borneo Highway from Kuching.

“It is a month of celebration where we prepare lots of things from tuak brewing, to making traditional cuisine and sweet treats like chuan, sarang semut and penyaram by the women folk,” she said.

Emerlda said from June 30, there would be a berancau tikai, a tradition of laying out screwpine leaf mats along the longhouse’s verandah, or the ruai.

She said in the evening all family members would gather for dinner and listen to speeches from the Tuai Rumah, the longhouse head, in conjunction with Gawai Dayak.

Meanwhile, 24-year-old corporate affairs officer Martino Unjan Mohammadin said that the journey from here to his hometown of Nanga Lassa in Sibu would take over six hours.

“Being able to celebrate Gawai Dayak at the longhouse is special. You can’t replicate that festive experience in the city,” he said.

Meanwhile, Muslim Sarawakians would also be making modest but meticulous preparations for their Aidilfitri celebrations.

A mother of seven, Aminah Mondoi, 55, from Kampung Mang, Kota Samarahan said Hari Raya Aidilfitri in the village was full of merriment with many functions held a week before and after Raya.

She said that there would be a belangey, a big potluck held on the 27th day of Ramadan at the mosque where villagers would gather for breaking of fast, which would then be repeated after Aidil­fitri.

Sultan Idris Education University student Nur Suraya Abdul Razak, 22, said that varsity students from Sarawak felt grateful for the state government’s flight subsidy.

“It is such a relief because now more students can reunite with their families to celebrate Aidilfitri,” she said. — Berna­ma

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