Unity in diversity: Sarawak’s Gawai Dayak open house unites communities in cultural splendour

Performers in traditional Dayak warrior attire waiting to welcome the Sarawak Premier and other dignitaries to the Gawai Dayak open house at BCCK on June 1, 2023.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 1: The Sarawak-level Gawai Dayak open house at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here was a spectacular gathering, drawing in thousands of visitors from various backgrounds and serving as a splendid exhibition of the Dayak community’s exquisite heritage.

The event jointly hosted by 16 Dayak State and Federal leaders was graced with the presence of Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and his wife Puan Sri Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang.

The atmosphere of the celebration was lively as performers and participants dressed as warriors and maidens adorned with beautiful and distinct traditional attire welcomed Abang Johari and other dignitaries upon their respective arrivals.

Abang Johari (fourth right) and other dignitaries entertaining the crowd with a few songs at the Gawai Dayak open house at BCCK on June 1, 2023.
Sarawak and Federal leaders entertaining the crowd with songs and a poco-poco dance at the Gawai Dayak open house at BCCK on June 1, 2023.

At the celebration to mark the harvest festival, visitors were treated to a culinary feast, including a wide array of traditional Dayak dishes like “ayam pansuh”, “kuih jala” and many more.

The event also showcased mesmerising cultural performances that encapsulated the essence of the Dayak community.

Dancers, musicians, and artistes took the stage, captivating the audience with their colourful costumes, graceful movements, and melodic tunes. The performances served as a poignant reminder of Sarawak’s rich cultural tapestry.

The Premier and several State leaders also took to the stage, delighting the crowd with songs and the popular poco-poco dance.

A delegation from China also took the opportunity to present Abang Johari with a calligraphy art.

A Chinese delegation presenting Abang Johari with calligraphy art when visiting the Gawai Dayak open house at BCCK on June 1, 2023.
A group photo of the State and Federal leaders together with their wives at the Gawai Dayak open house at BCCK on June 1, 2023.

The Gawai Dayak open house stands as a celebration of Sarawak’s shared history and unity. Through events like this, Sarawak can proudly display the splendour of its diverse cultural heritage and reinforce the bonds that make Sarawak so unique.

The open house provided an opportunity for people from different walks of life to come together, fostering greater understanding and harmony among Sarawak’s multicultural society. It served as a testament of the region’s commitment to inclusivity and cultural diversity.

The Gawai Dayak open house was jointly hosted by Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Datuk John Sikie Tayai, Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi, Datuk Francis Harden Hollis, Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, Datuk Liwan Lagang, Datuk Dr Malcolm Mussen Lamoh, Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil, Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Datuk Gerawat Gala, Dato Henry Harry Jinep, Dato Majang Renggi, Dato Gerald Rentap Jabu, Jefferson Jamit Unyat and Martin Ben. — DayakDaily

The crowd at the Gawai Dayak open house at BCCK on June 1, 2023.