Covid-19 takes the fun out of Gawai

Desmond Davidson

A ban on large gatherings and inter-district travel means Sarawakians living in towns like Miri, Bintulu, Sibu or Kuching cannot make their way back home for Gawai, which takes place on Monday. Sarawakians brace for the ‘new Gawai norm’. – The Malaysian Insight pic, May 30, 2020.

IT WILL be a watered-down rice harvest festival or Gawai celebration for the Dayaks of Sarawak this year, as Covid-19 puts a damper on several rituals that involve close contact and large gatherings.

Gawai, which falls on June 1 every year, will usually see people welcoming “good spirits” that accompany visitors to their longhouses by offering them a welcome drink – all from the same glass.

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