The Gawai Dayak Festival is celebrated by the Dayak community in Sarawak on 1 June every year. The festival marks the end of padi harvesting season and the beginning of the new planting season.
The festival will begin with the Long House Chief (Tuai Rumah) allocating duties to the long house residents. The women folk will prepare traditional cakes and delicacies made from rice flour, sugar and coconut milk. Rice wine or “tuak” is the main item in the celebration of this festival.
On the eve of the festival, a ritual to cast away the spirit of bad luck is performed by the Long House Chief. He begins the “miring”(offering ceremony) at the “ruai” (open gallery which runs through the entire length of the long house). He represents all residents of the long house to pray for long and good life. At 12.00 midnight, the ceremony of drinking “air pengayu” is carried out, with hopes of getting long life, good health and prosperity. On 1 June morning at 7am sharp, the Long House Chief accompanied by several residents of the long house will bring the “piring persembahan” to the “tiang pengingat” which is a type of wood normally used for building long houses.