Dr Rundi: State-level Gawai Dayak celebration a success

Abang Johari (third from left), Uggah (fourth from right) and Masing (third from right) leading the 'niti daun'.

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KUCHING, June 23: The state-level Gawai Dayak celebration in the city yesterday was a success, with about 3,000 people from 103 contingents participating, mostly from cultural organisations.

Organising chairman Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said this year’s celebration involved the ‘niti daun’ (or parade), where the participants donned traditional Dayak costumes, danced the ‘ngajat’, played traditional instruments, and performed other Dayak cultural activities.

Iban community leaders, dressed as Iban warriors, arriving at the main event using boats to re-enact the Dayak tradition.

“This is something we don’t do frequently. The last one (state-level Gawai Dayak celebration parade) was held in 1994. We call it ‘niti daun’ (Iban phrase for ‘parade’), just like Mardi Gras.

“We are witnessing the colourful cultural display through this parade as well as the Gawai bazaar this year, participated by participants from all over the state from Miri, Kapit, Bintulu, Sibu and Kuching,” he told reporters after the parade at Kuching Waterfront here yesterday evening.

Abang Johari (second from left) and his wife, Datin Patinggi Datuk Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, join others to observe the ‘miring’ ritual before the main event.

The ‘niti daun’ started at the Cat Statue in front of the Grand Margherita Hotel, with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg leading the parade together with Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.

The parade then proceeded to the Square Tower at the Kuching Waterfront, which is about 1.5km away.

Dr Rundi (centre) presenting a token of appreciation to Abang Johari at the end of the ‘niti daun’, witnessed by Uggah (second from left) and Masing (right).

The theme for this year’s state-level celebration was ‘Segulai Sejalai Nengah Jeman Digital’ (Together in Unity towards the Digital Age).

The parade was not only witnessed by thousand of locals but also tourists and visitors from within and even outside the country.

Dr Rundi speaking to reporters after the ‘niti daun’.

Meanwhile, Dr Rundi said the climax of the state-level Gawai Dayak celebration would be held tonight at the Penview Convention Centre (PCC) in Jalan Demak here. Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is expected to join some 3,000 guests at the gathering.

“There will be cultural shows and performance,” he added. — DayakDaily