Pichin Gawai Celebration (2 June 2023)

© Claudius Weson (2023). All rights reserved. 

Tabi basa & greetings everyone. Today I’d like to share about 2nd June’s Gawai celebration at Kpg Pichin, which is a day reserved for our reenactment of the old ways, which is called “Nantang Jule”.


The festivities begins by a motorcycle convoy from YB Dato’ Sri Richard Riot (DSRR) residence to Awah Gawai Tun Abdul Razak (basically our homestay longhouse, place of festivities), which was officiated by then Malaysia’s PM, Tun Najib Razak back in 2009.


Upon arrival at Awah Gawai, he was given a warm welcomed by fellow Bi-Pichin (Pichin peoples) in a ceremony called ngamat, things reserved to people with high ranking / position or someone that fellow villagers equally respect.

Then, it’s time for official ceremony, where the emcee, Mr Anthony Siong, starts the ceremony. 


By that time, the maidens of Ntangan Binyok performed Langgi Pingadap, Bidayuh Serian’s welcoming dance to guests.


Cikgu Kennedy lead all of us is prayer for a smooth flow of 2nd June’s celebration, followed by dinner prayer.

Then, it’s dinner time, done in potluck style. After a quick meal, I walk from end to end, to capture the moments. Can’t sit still with all of these peoples wearing colourful costumes around me – need to immortalise their memories.

These sumandak Sabah also excited to see what’s available for Gawai celebration.

Finally, meeting with Sis Imor after long long time. Ariel & Amber all grown up, too.


Village chief, KK Rioi Lagit gave a welcoming speech to the entourage, followed by DSRR himself, giving a good sharing about Gawai & he urges everyone to keep our tradition alive. 


Incentive award ceremony follows suit, to be given to fellow Pichin folks who managed to get a good result & complete their journey at a higher institution.


Then it’s the most awaited moment, where we started prayer for our materials. This part was done in the past in accordance to the old religion, but since we’re Catholics now, we follow Catholic rites, which was led by local prayer leaders (pingulu simayang / PS). 

They walk from end to end, sprinkling holy water to the event-goers trays of paddy, utensils or even school materials, blessing it for our new year.

Some would call it is equivalent to “miring” in Iban culture, but it’s not entirely the same though its similarities are undeniable.


Following PS’s blessing, then it’s time for the symbolic dance by each representative from Kpg Pichin’s village. This time, it is special because DSRR himself will join in and lead the “langgi”. If Iban peoples have ngajat, Bidayuh Serian have “langgi”.

Bidayuh Bau have “sigar” and Bidayuh Padawan have “rejang”. It differs from each location to another.

Those with smartphone will take it out and capture these moments and shared it online, and share with their fellow villagers that was unable to go back home for Gawai.


For langgi dayung, it is usually done by eldery women, not maiden. Not really sure why, but that’s how Bidayuhs do it. At other Bidayuh location, they have Dayung Boris / Beris, who plays a key role when it comes to ceremonies like this.


The men led by DSRR also have another round of langgi, this time with rooster. Traditionally it is done using black rooster, for spiritual reasons. But now they are using conventional chicken since it is only symbolic.

It is emphasised again and again because in the past, there are some visitor who accused Bi-Pichin for still practicing the old religion, much to local prayer leaders chagrin.

For this part, the ladies will hang “abuh langgi” (lemang with some goodies) on these dancers, for good luck.


After the symbolic dance was completed for both male and female, it is time for normal band performance, performed by Mixed Melody Revived (not to be confused with the older lineup of Mixed Melody). 


For Dayung Timengen competition, it is finally being done after a long, long time. The judges for this competition is Mdm Jenny, Miss Saswina & Mr Rodney Frazer. All they need to do is to walk from end to end, and showcase their clothing.


There is also another special performance done, this time for elder women from each district/ Ntangan. I don’t think they volunteer as tribute though. LIkewise, these contestants are required to walk from end to end, and showcase their clothes.


For the special performance, Gawai organiser have invited two special singers from Pontianak to sing and entertain all of us. 


Birehe’ is considered a Pichin’s tradition, sharing of blessing after we have done that Nantang Jule’ earlier on. During Birehe’,  male representative from each Ntangan will share the birehe’ in the form of chicken porridge with the other fellow villagers.


After a long wait, it is time for the result of Dayung Timengen & Dayung Tuuh. The winner for each category is Nano & Tayung Lasa.

Champion for Dayung Timengen, Ongod Category: Nano.

Champion for Dayung Timengen (Tuuh Category) is Tayung Lasa.

Token of appreciation for the judges:


After formal event was completed, then it is time for entertainement, until 6.30 in the morning.


All good thing must come to an end. Before th party ends, I managed to sing It’s My Life, followed by You Give Love A Bad Name as requested by Peter from Mixed Melody Revived (MMR), and it ends with Gelang, Si Paku Gelang: A tradition before we ends any Gawai at Pichin.


That’s the end of the Gawai Celebration on 2nd June 2023. There was another one planned on 4th June 2023. However due to the passing of Babuk Ramek (the late Mr Simon Simo) and with greenlight from Datuk Amar Michael Manyin, another esteemed leader from Kpg Pichin, Serian, the event was deferred.

Nevertheless, it was a night to be remembered for all of us who joined. Once again, Silamat Andu Gawai to all of you.

Tukang Rantek,
Claudius (Del)

© Claudius Weson (2023). All rights reserved. 

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