Diary - Gawai Festival (Pesta Kaamatan)
Gawai Celebration also known as Gawai Dayak is celebrated annually in Sarawak, which is to celebrate the bountiful harvest, referring to the harvesting revel of paddy. It is celebrated commonly in end of May or early of June each year. Malaysian government have decided to make it into public holiday on 1964. Gawai celebration usually being celebrates with hype in main city and also in rural area, the planting of paddy may not be the main activity nowadays but the people will use this opportunity to have their annual family gathering both in the rural kampong and town in the state. There will be dancing, drinking "tuak" which is brewed from rice unique to Sarawak.
The Kaamatan Festival is an annual event in the cultural life of the Kadazan Dusun of Sabah just before Gawai Dayak. Uniquely a festival in Sabah; Kaamatan festival is a manifestation of Creator and Creation relationship, as well as Inter-Creations relationship. It embodies the principal acts of invocation of divinities, appeasing, purification and restoration, re-union of benevolent spirits, and thanksgiving to the Source of All. It is part of a complex wholesome Momolian religious system centered on the paddy rites of passage and the life cycle of Bambaroyan the in-dwelling spirit of paddy. In short is also to celebrate the bountiful harvest of rice among the indigenous tribes of Sabah.
To mark the significance of both festival, Zoo Negara have set up a booth for both celebration from 1-3 of June. The booth contains basic information on both festivals, especially for the visiting public to understand the two celebrations.
For kids, there was the coloring and beads making section. We were also giving out mystery gift for Sabahan and Sarawakian paid visitor that came in during the 3 day while stock last.
For the three days we got more than 300 visitors were dropping by our booth and we have given out 60 goodies bag to more than 37 families. From the survey and questionnaires done, the visitors would want the booth to be bigger and fill in with more activities, especially one that showing pure celebration of Pesta Kaamatan dan Gawai Celebration, which we intent to do next year 2013.