Gawai celebration comes to life
THE Iban tradition came to life as residents of Kg Supon Besar in Tutong celebrated Gawai in front of the Kebubok Longhouse last night.
The event was co-organised by the Brunei Iban Association and the Village Consultative Council of Kg Supon Besar as an effort to preserve the Iban culture and tradition.
Chairperson of the celebration Salanjat Anak Jugi said the Gawai – celebrated annually on June 1 – was held to maintain the expression of gratitude to God for the bountiful harvest they received.
“Although generally most of us here are no longer doing agriculture, we are still celebrating Gawai for the rewards we received by working either in the government or the private sector,” he said.
Tutong District Officer Wardi Hj Mohd Ali explained several versions of the Gawai celebration but the one celebrated last night was to mark the end of the harvest season and the start of the new planting season.
“We should also be grateful that the road is now in a better condition,” he said.
“I still remember 10 years ago, we would have to travel by boat if we wanted to reach the longhouse here but that also depended on the tides,” he said.
He also said that the celebration should be seen as an avenue for the people to foster closer relationships between one another to preserve the safety and harmony of the rural community.
An array of activities were also arranged to enliven the celebration last night.
Besides the cultural dance and the showcase of traditional attires, there was also a “Kumang Gawai” (pageant) competition.
The celebration was further enlivened with the toppling of the “Ranyai”.
The “Ranyai” is a decorative tree, usually constructed out of a coconut tree, with souvenirs hung on its leaves for visitors and guests to grab at until the tree fell onto the ground.
The ceremony concluded with the handing out of appreciation awards to 14 senior citizens and the prize presentation for the “Kumang Gawai”.
This was followed by a gift presentation to the Tutong District Officer by the chairperson of the event.
The Brunei Times