Gawai Melah Pinang
The Nadai Name Gawai Dayak 2007 post continues with my brother's wedding longhouse style. This year's Gawai is special in a way as its also going to feature, my brother, Darren's wedding - again! Wait! Reader's may ask....did Darren not have his wedding last year? Yes, it was in my blog for June 2006, but this is how weddings are celebrated in Sarawak - at least amongst the Ibans. This is especially true if the couples are from different areas, say one if from Sibu and another from Miri, but not necessarily in that order. Sometimes both sides of the family want to provide the opportunity for their respective village to celebrate the marriage. So one has to be done at the ladies's village first (sometimes known as Ngambi Indu in Iban). But then again there are many combinations. In my brother's case, we had a 'party' in Rumah Bali, Niah (my sister in law's village) in June last year, another wedding reception was held at Beijing Hotel in Sibu on December 2006 and finally this Gawai 2007, at our longhouse.
As usual it means welcome drinks, the first of many (many, many, many) more to come
Here is a life saving tip for most longhouse visitors who do not want to suffer from a hangover during Gawai. Its in the art of diplomacy when one is being offered 'Ai Gawai' or Gawai drinks which is sometimes in the form of rice wine or 'tuak'.
When a person offers you a drink, you gently touch the glass (preferably before anything is poured in it) or the bottle and say, 'Enda Biasa' or 'Tidak Biasa'. This is the polite way of saying that you do not want to drink. When you say 'Enda Biasa' or 'Tidak Biasa' they will either pass you or just give just a little bit only. My friend Blueheeler learnt that the hard way. I told him the sequence and pronounciation in saying it is very critical. I had coached him how to say that whenever he is offered a drink as I was also not sure whether I will survive the whole night through.
Another Gawai is gone, so I 'll see you all for the next Gawai 2008! And if you love hearing to the Timang tune try going to this River song link. Someone made a YouTube post with the pantun. Quite soothing in a way as I remember that I slept to tunes of these similiar nature when I grew up in the longhouse as a kid. Takes time to get used to it. Wait for my upcoming post on the closure of Gawai. More drinks?