Hundreds wearing striking, colourful traditional costumes hit the Sri Aman streets for Gawai Dayak parade

Miring ceremony before the Sri Aman's Gawai Dayak parade on May 20, 2023.

By Nancy Nais

SRI AMAN, May 20: Hundreds of beautiful, graceful women in their elegant traditional costumes and men dressed as tribal warriors coloured up the streets in Sri Aman town for the Gawai Dayak parade today.

Some 1,500 participants from Sarawak’s various Dayak ethnic groups, Sri Aman’s Chinese Lion Dance troup, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and members of the public joined the striking parade led by Deputy Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Francis Harden Hollis.

Accompanying them were Sri Aman MP Datuk Seri Doris Sophia Brodie and Bukit Begunan assemblyman Datuk Mong Dagang.

Dubbed ‘Niti Daun’, the event was organised by Community Mobilisation Association (RPKS) Sri Aman and this was their second return after the first parade held in May 2017.

Beautiful and graceful women in their elegant traditional costumes at the Sri Aman Gawai Dayak Parade on May 20, 2023.
Men dressed as tribal warriors at the Sri Aman Gawai Dayak Parade on May 20, 2023.

Despite having to gather as early as 7am while standing under the humid morning sun at the open field next to Sri Aman’s Tamu (open market), it was truly an amazing and colourful display to showcase Sarawak’s indigenous cultural identity.

Prior to the parade, a miring ceremony (symbolic ritual) by several Iban elders was conducted in the open area to ensure a smooth event or journey.

The parade which covered a distance of 2.2km along the main roads also saw many contingents, small or big, playing their respective traditional music with dances, before it ended at the Sri Aman Civic Centre.

A boy in his ‘warrior attire’ accompanying his father at the Sri Aman Gawai Dayak Parade on May 20, 2023.
Children also dressed up in their traditional attire joining the Sri Aman Gawai Dayak Parade on May 20, 2023.

Speaking to reporters after the parade, Harden said the event is not just to promote Dayak culture but it has also proven Sarawak’s racial harmony and unity when different races and religions could get together as such.

“This is one of our ways to bring the people together. We are not only preserving our culture and traditions, but also focusing on the importance of nurturing racial and national unity for our people’s future,” he added. — DayakDaily

Some 1,500 participants joining the 2.2km Sri Aman Gawai Dayak Parade led by Harden, Doris and Mong on May 20, 2023.