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Gawai Dayak

Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant and colorful celebrations of Gawai Dayak, a festival that celebrates the indigenous culture and heritage of Sarawak!
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When it is?
June 1
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Get ready for a vibrant and cultural celebration on June 1 with Gawai Dayak! This day is a festival celebrated by the Dayak people in Sarawak, Malaysia, to honor their rice farming traditions and give thanks for a bountiful harvest. It's also known as the Harvest Festival and involves traditional rituals, dancing, music, and feasting. The festivities typically last for two days and are a time of joy and unity among the Dayak community. So grab your traditional costumes and join in on this colorful celebration of culture and gratitude!

History of Gawai Dayak

Gawai Dayak Dates

Gawai Dayak Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1843</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Inception of Gawai Dayak</div><div class='timeline-text'>In the mid-1800s, the ancestors of today's Dayak community first start celebrating their traditions of rice farming and harvest, which forms the basis of what we now know as Gawai Dayak.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1962</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Recognition as Public Holiday</div><div class='timeline-text'>Gawai Dayak was officially recognized as a public holiday in Sarawak following Malaysia's independence and the formation of the Malaysian Federation.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1977</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>First Muai Antu Raja Ceremony</div><div class='timeline-text'>In this year, the Muai Antu Raja ceremony to appease the spirits was first introduced as a part of official Gawai Dayak events, allowing participants to honor the ancestors in a communal setting.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2001</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Inaugural World Harvest Festival</div><div class='timeline-text'>The first World Harvest Festival was held, which is now regarded as one of the grandest celebrations of Gawai Dayak and has significantly increased its prominence worldwide.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2012</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Gawai Dayak goes Digital</div><div class='timeline-text'>For the first time ever, Gawai Dayak festivities are shared worldwide through live streamings and social media platforms, expanding its reach to a global audience.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Gawai Dayak

<div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Attend a Gawai Dayak festival</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of the Dayak people by attending a Gawai Dayak festival. Experience traditional dances, music, food, and rituals.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Learn about Dayak culture</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Take the time to learn about the history, customs, and beliefs of the Dayak people. This will deepen your understanding and appreciation for Gawai Dayak.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Cook a traditional Dayak dish</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Get in touch with your culinary skills and prepare a traditional Dayak dish to celebrate Gawai Dayak. You can find recipes online or ask a Dayak friend for their family recipe.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Create Dayak-inspired crafts</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Get crafty and make some Dayak-inspired decorations or artwork to display in your home. This is a great way to honor the culture and add some unique pieces to your decor.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Share Gawai Dayak with friends</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Invite friends over and introduce them to Gawai Dayak. Share the history and traditions behind the holiday, and maybe even cook a traditional dish together.</p></div></div>

Why We Love Gawai Dayak

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It celebrates the culture and traditions of the Dayak people</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Gawai Dayak is a festival celebrated by the indigenous Dayak people in Borneo, Malaysia. It is a time to honor their customs, beliefs, and way of life. This holiday allows us to learn more about this unique culture and appreciate its rich history.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It promotes unity and harmony</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Gawai Dayak is a time for family and community bonding. People come together to celebrate, share traditional food, and participate in cultural activities. This holiday promotes unity and harmony among the Dayak people and helps to preserve their cultural identity.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It's a fun and festive celebration</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Gawai Dayak is known for its lively atmosphere and colorful festivities. There are traditional dances, music performances, and games that add to the excitement of the holiday. It's a time for joy and celebration, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.</p></div></div>

5 Eye-Opening Facts about Gawai Dayak Celebration

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Gawai Dayak Begins with a Formal Ritual Ceremony</h3><p class='facts-content'>The celebration of Gawai Dayak traditionally starts off with a formalized ritual called ‘miring’, which involves offerings to the gods, meant to appease and seek blessings from the divine.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>An Essential Part of the Festivity is 'Ngetas Uman'</h3><p class='facts-content'>‘Ngetas Uman’ is a crucial part of the Gawai Dayak festivities and involves freeing harvested plantations from any restrictions traditionally imposed during the cultivation period.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Cockfighting, Though Controversial, is a Part of Gawai Dayak Tradition</h3><p class='facts-content'>Despite the controversy surrounding the sport, cockfighting holds a significant place in Gawai Dayak, serving as a form of entertainment and cultural observance during the festivities.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>A Unique Practice – The Use of Ancient Communication Tools </h3><p class='facts-content'>During Gawai Dayak, a unique, hollowed-out wooden instrument named ‘tawak’ or ‘gong’ is used. The loud sound it produces is a traditional means to communicate messages within the Dayak community.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>The Cultural Import of Traditional Costumes </h3><p class='facts-content'>During the Gawai Dayak festival, traditional costumes worn by the locals carry cultural significance that denotes their specific ethnic Dayak groups. The unique designs and elements of the attire bear a testament to the richness of Dayak culture.</p></div></div>

Gawai Dayak FAQs

When is Gawai Dayak?

Gawai Dayak is celebrated on June 1 every year. In 2024 Gawai Dayak will occur on a Saturday.

Gawai Dayak Dates



Jun 1



Jun 1



Jun 1



Jun 1



Jun 1


Cultural Holidays