|Ngumbai Keling Kumang: The Tradition of Calling the Ancestors of the Iban Tribe
BORNEO TRAVEL : Dayaks, especially Iban, have a tradition of calling their ancestors to come in the afterlife. To let you know about big plans for next year, ask for pointers and help, or simply "see you miss."
But the preparations were really carried
out, such as welcoming a noble guest. Slaughter the sacrificial animal the day
before, with ceremony. There is blood cleansing (purification) done for a kind
of penance sacrifice.
Ngumbai (Calling) Keling Kumang, the
tradition of calling the ancestors of the Iban tribe, is usually held in
February. The ceremony was held at the Keling Kumang Credit Union (CU) Populist
Economic Empowerment Movement head office, Tapang Sambas, Sekadau, West Borneo.
To enrich BORNEO TRAVEL readers' cultural insights on the richness of one of the cultural customs and traditional values of the Dayak ethnic group with the largest population (1.2 million), I wrote a series as the title of the narrative.
"It's not occultism. In Catholicism,
there is a Credo. That there is a fellowship between people who have passed
away and those who are still living in this world. They are still with us, only
in different worlds," explained Prof. William Chang, regarding the rituals
of the calling Keling Kumang.
"Why do Catholics still maintain old
cultural customs and beliefs?"
Prof. William added, in the term "the
fellowship of saints" there is good power. "Some kind of intention,
resolution, program, which we make to be carried out next year. We ask for the
blessing of our parents. Ask for permission. Say goodbye to be able to complete
MORNING has broken.
In the eastern horizon, a beam of golden
yellow rays adorns the sky. Above the horizon, the bright stars began to pale
in the bright light. While the shoots of the tapang (koompassia excelsa) trees
are like rigid statues at the edge of the fields, and the moon is lost and
swallowed by the returning morning.
The sound of a gong was heard, followed by
a fast and moderate voice. To the ears that are used to hearing, that is not an
ordinary sound. It's not an emergency signal to call the whole community to
come together immediately. Not even the sound of a party, let alone a balian
The sound of the gong struck by the three groups of drummers is to call all the citizens to gather immediately at the punjung house. Because the people fully understand the voice, also the animals including wild bats, the dogs do not want to bark in fear.
They never fear the
dead, but fear the living. Therefore, in order to protect the village, they set
up ramparts to repel reinforcements.
And now they built a rancak, which was
named "Rancak Sempoyong" in the ruai which was purposely built for
Keling which has 19 steps.
"Iban people never die. They still live in the realm of eternity, in sebayan. Life is not eliminated, but only changed," explained Kerius Kerja (84 years old), the leader of the ceremony.
Kerius Kerja (84 years old), wearing full Iban Dayak attributes the leader of the ceremony.
“Today we summoned Keling and Kumang. Preparations have been made since yesterday afternoon and last night. We have slaughtered the sacrificial animals in the form of chickens and pigs.
is a sacrifice of atonement, blood of cleansing. The flesh represents life,”
the man who was starting to be lined with old wrinkles all over his face said.
The gong continued to sound, at the same time curious voices asked. Nowadays, there are still people who are skilled at bebiau. With interludes of singing and sound rhythms, it is pronounced in the village language which is very fluent and smooth.
The choice of words as poetry
is beautiful, intertwined as a syllogism. (X-5)