By Yati Adida, Hope Kuching Spero
Shalom! Blessed be the Name of the Lord forever!
We are truly grateful for His grace, kindness, and beautiful presence upon the closing ceremony of Gawai Festival – Ngiling Bidai, which was joyously celebrated on 26 June 2022 among the congregation of Hope Kuching Spero.
On the 1st of June of every calendar year, the Dayak celebrates Gawai Harvest Festival. It is a festival of thanksgiving, marking a bountiful harvest and a time to plan for the new farming season or other endeavours ahead. Generally, the tradition of ‘Ngiling Bidai’ or the closing ceremony of Gawai are celebrated by the Iban, Bidayuh, and Dayak community in Sarawak and part of the Kalimantan community such as Pontianak. The celebration of ‘Ngiling Bidai’ symbolizes the end of the celebration and preparation to welcome a new year and new exploration area to start the paddy plantation.
Ps Daniel Lee reminds us through his sermon that Gawai Harvest Celebration is a time for us to be grateful for the harvest that God has blessed us by worshipping God in spirit and truth. It is a truthful and powerful way for us to connect deeply with God and to understand His Word.
This year, various activities were held together with the Hope Kuching Spero family to enliven our Sunday celebration. Among them, the opening performance of traditional cultural dances from our beloved student and young working adult groups, Hope Kids Gawai fashion show, blessed draw with ‘ngetas ranyai’ where the ranyai tree is hung with various gifts. The selected pengabang (guests) will take turns dancing ngajat (traditional dance) around the Ranyai tree before cutting down items attached to the tree accompanied by sape and traditional music.
The final closing symbolic ceremony called ‘Ngiling Bidai’ is an indication of the end of the Gawai Festival. The ceremony of rolling up the rattan made mat was performed by Hope Kuching Spero’s leaders, led by Ps Daniel Lee, to mark the end of the year’s harvest festival and venturing to a brand-new season with greater hope and faith.
Let us continue to be thankful and surrender the rest of our journey to our great God. Continue to taste and see that The Lord is good!