Information and History of Iban (Race in Malaysia) Hari Gawai Dayak / festival (Video)


Gawai Dayak is an annual festival celebrated by the Dayak (Gawai festival) people in Sarawak, Malaysia and West Kalimantan, Indonesia on 31 May and 1 June. It is a public holiday in Sarawak and is both a religious and a social occasion recognized since 1957. 


UNIMAS Sky lantern at Pavilion 2016

Celebrated with enthusiasm across Sarawak both in cities and rural villages, Gawai Dayak is a multi-day festival to honor the indigenous people. Gawai Dayak (Gawai festival) translates to "Dayak Day"; the Dayak (Gawai festival) people include the Iban, Bidayuh, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit and Murut tribes which once roamed Sarawak and relieved unsuspecting traders of their heads.


Satu Malaysia Song lyrics + English translation || One Malaysia

Gawai Dayak (Gawai festival) was the concept of the radio producers Tan Kingsley and Owen Liang taken up by the Dayak community. The British colonial government refused to recognize Dayak Day until 1962. They called it Sarawak Day for the inclusion of all Sarawakians as a national day, regardless of ethnic origin.


The History of Gawai Dayak :

The traditions celebrated during Gawai Dayak (Gawai festival) are ancient, but the holiday is not. The first Gawai Dayak (Gawai festival) festival took place in 1965 after several years of renewed cultural pride within the oppressed Dayak community. When first asked to create a public holiday in celebration of the Dayak (Gawai festival) people in Sarawak, the colonial government refused; they were afraid that other minority groups would make similar demands. Instead, the government declared June 1 as "Sarawak Day". Eventually, once Sarawak was awarded independence, the holiday was officially changed to Gawai Dayak (Gawai festival).

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