Gawai Dayak is a 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.