Dayak community decides to forego harvest feast over pandemic

Dayak community decides to forego harvest feast over pandemic

Documentation of the 31th Pekan Gawai Dayak, the great festival of the rice harvest, held in Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan, in May 20, 2016. (ANTARA/Jessica Helena Wuysang/sw)

As the one, who leads traditional community here in Serimbang, I will always comply with the government's rules to not hold Baroah with crowds. However, the significance and essence of this year's ritual will not change, which is the act of gratitude
Pontianak (ANTARA) - The Dayak community of Serimbang Village in Landak District, West Kalimantan, decided to cancel a feast typically held after the rice harvest owing to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"The rice harvest feast, Baroah, this year is different from any other year, as it is only celebrated by each family that performs the traditional ceremony. There is no mass invitation and moreover so for outsiders," Piator, the Serimbang village head, stated on Monday, May 18.

With the government’s issuance of an order to avoid congregations amid this pandemic, the leader of the National Traditional Assembly of Dayak has also requested the Dayak community to cancel the mass-attended harvest feast.

Baroah is an annual, religiously-inclined tradition followed regularly by members of the Dayak community in Kalimantan during the major harvest period as a mark of gratitude to God as well as to pray for the people's safety, with attendees usually comprising people and the local officials.

"As the one, who leads the traditional community here in Serimbang, I will always comply with the government's rules to not hold Baroah with crowds. However, the significance and essence of this year's ritual will not change, which is the act of gratitude to our Creator," Sariman, the community leader, stated.

At a separate location, District Head of Landak Karolin Margret Natasa lauded this decision based on the current scenario. "Today's situation of the COVID-19 pandemic is not an easy matter to handle," she noted.

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