Gawai Dayak is the harvest festival celebrated in June by the state’s indigenous people, particularly the Ibans and Bidayuhs, in their traditional costumes. Ceremonial offerings of various local traditional delicacies and ‘tuak’ (home-made rice wine) are made to the gods of rice and prosperity. This unique festivity is a ‘must-see’ occasion for local and foreign tourists alike.
Once the previous night’s formal ceremonies finish, tourists are invited to visit on June 1. Activities differ between longhouses; some allow tourists to shoot traditional blowpipe guns or to watch cockfights. No matter the locale, visitors are always greeted with a shot of strong rice wine; drink up or find a place to hide it – refusing is impolite!
Iban and Dayak homes are opened during Gawai Dayak, allowing visitors a glimpse of daily life. Tourists are invited to wear colorful costumes for photos, participate in traditional dances, and sample delicious cakes and treats.