The Kaul Festival of Dalat

The annual Kaul Festival of Dalat (specifically Kpg. Medong) is held on January 1st every year (villages within the area celebrate around closer dates), as opposed to the Kaul of Mukah, which is celebrated on the 3rd week of April. This festival is a large and pagan festival celebrated by the Melanaus of Sarawak. The Kaul in Dalat does not have the “Tibau”, the large swing that men jump on as part of the festivities.

Taken from Learn Melanau.

The festival’s ritual ceremony starts when the Serarang, made from sago, bamboo and meduk leaves, are placed on the boats or tongkang.Offerings are placed in a container containing, chicken eggs, yellow glutinous rice, tobacco leaves and betel leaves. The Serarang is part of the Melanau Liko belief system in the Sea Deity, Ipouh. The festival is to appease Ipouh and provide offerings.

The ceremony is led by the Bapa Kaul (Kaul Father), who undergoes the ritual cleansing or purification before beginning the ceremony.

During the 3 days of the festival, no animal are allowed to be slaughtered within the borders of the village, already marked with red flags. Sago palms (staples of the Melanau) are also not to be felled. Gunshots and fireworks aren’t allowed because peace and quiet must avail in the surrounding area where the ritual is being held.While the Serarang is carried around the village, no one should paddle their festival boats against the approved direction.

The tongkang, which carries the Serarang leads 60-100 small boats, that travels behind or beside it only. They act as guards of the main tongkang.

 

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