One of the original dying rituals of Gawea Sowa was celebrated in the early mornings of June 2nd in Kampung Opar Bau, some 30 minutes from Kuching City.
The ritual which involves the climatic ‘Nguguoh’ saw a crowd of about 400 gather till 3AM to witness the unique culture of the Bidayuhs during the season of Gawai, which is a celebration to thank the Gods for a bountiful harvest.
Backed by music created from gongs, Pagan priestesses would circle a ‘Bawar’ which serves as an altar for offerings, as they chant to summon the Gods. The ceremony last for about half an hour with the music reaching a crescendo.
Apart from the ritual, there was also a small concert held in the nearby hall where the Kebaya Queen contest was held. On the night before, the Kumang Gawai contest for the village was also held at the same hall.
Video above showing part of the ‘Nguguoh’ ceremony in 2009. Video credit to Cyril Dason.