By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 25: The Gawai Dayak open house on June 1 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) will mark the beginning of a series of events planned for this year’s grand Gawai celebration.
Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this year’s festivities hold immense significance as they coincide with Sarawak’s 60th year of independence within Malaysia, allowing Sarawakians to honour the region’s rich heritage, vibrant culture and freedom.
Themed ‘Segulai Sejalai’ (Together in Unity), Uggah said it emphasised the importance of unity among the diverse community in Sarawak as the pillar for realising the region’s vision of economic prosperity, social inclusivity and environmental sustainable in line with the Post-Covid Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030.
“The Cabinet members of the Dayak community will be organising a Gawai open house on June 1. So we are inviting the public to join us for the celebration at the BCCK,” he told a press conference after chairing a meeting on the Gawai Dayak Celebration 2023 at BCCK here today.
Numerous special events are scheduled to take place, including the Gawai Dayak celebration dinner on June 7, Gawai Parade (Niti Daun) on June 17, and Gawai Dayak Bazaar 2023, which will run from June 16 to 25.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail are expected to attend the Gawai Dayak celebration dinner at BCCK starting 6.30pm.
“As the host this year is the Iban community, the main cultural component will revolve around the Iban community, alongside the participation of the Dayak Cultural Foundation and Sarawak Arts Council,” Uggah elaborated.
One of the highlights of the dinner will be the Beauty Queen Parade, where six warriors who won the Keling, Dari Pagon, and Belawan Gawai competitions will escort the winners of the Gawai 2023 Kumang, Dayung Sagong and Keligit competitions held in various divisions to showcase the uniqueness and diverse traditional costumes from different ethnic groups in Sarawak.
As for the Niti Daun, it will take place at 3.30pm featuring over 80 contingents consisting approximately 2,500 invividuals, including ‘Bujang Berani’. The procession will stretch from the Tun Jugah Building to the Kuching Waterfront’s Darul Hana Bridge, covering a distance of 1.2km.
Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg is expected to officiate the event.
Meanwhile, the 10-day Gawai Dayak Bazaar 2023 will be hosted at the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Community Hall at Jalan Padungan here.
The festival will commence at 5pm on weekdays and 11am on the weekends, running until 11pm daily. Festival-goers can look forward to a variety of events, including Dayak Cultural Art performances, live band performances, Kumang and Keling contests, Gawai Idol and showcases by local artistes.
Minister in the Premier’s Department cum Gawai Dayak Celebration 2023 Main Organising Committee chairman Datuk John Sikie Tayai, Deputy Minister of Public Health and Housing Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil, and Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Office (Labour, Immigration and Project Monitoring) Datuk Gerawat Gala were among those present. — DayakDaily