Friday 1 June 2012: Gawai Dayak!
Today it is June 1st and that means it is the beginning of Hari Gawai, one of the most important Malaysian festivals. All our Malaysian crew members are of the Iban tribe and Dayak is a collective name for this native ethnic groups of Sarawak and Kalimantan in Malaysia. There are two sorts of Dayaks, the Iban or Sea Dayaks and the Bidayuh or Land Dayaks.
The festival can last for days and one of the activities is shooting with the blow-pipe.
Up till 1962, the British colonial government refused to recognise Dayak Day. Gawai Dayak was formally gazetted on 25 September 1964 as a public holiday in place of Sarawak Day. It was first celebrated on 1 June 1965 and became a symbol of unity, aspiration and hope for the Dayak community. Today, it is an integral part of Dayak social life. It is a thanksgiving day marking good harvest and a time to plan for the new farming season or activities ahead.
This is our cook Peter trying to shoot sharp with the blow-pipe.
Try it in Large.