Gawai Dayak in Malaysia in 2023

Gawai Dayak in Malaysia in 2023
Gawai Dayak parade. Image via Flickr

  How long until Gawai Dayak?
Gawai Dayak
  Dates of Gawai Dayak in Malaysia
2024 Sarawak Sat, Jun 1 Regional Holiday
2023 Jun 1, Jun 2
SarawakFri, Jun 2Regional Holiday
SarawakThu, Jun 1Regional Holiday
2022 Jun 1, Jun 2
SarawakThu, Jun 2Regional Holiday
SarawakWed, Jun 1Regional Holiday
2021 Jun 1, Jun 2
SarawakWed, Jun 2Regional Holiday
SarawakTue, Jun 1Regional Holiday
2020 Jun 1, Jun 2
SarawakTue, Jun 2Regional Holiday
SarawakMon, Jun 1Regional Holiday

Sarawak. Dayak Festival is a major harvest festival celebrated over two days

  Local name
Gawai Dayak
Related holidays

When is Gawai Dayak?

Gawai Dayak is a regional public holiday in the Malaysian state of Sarawak observed on June 1st and 2nd.

This holiday is a harvest festival used to showcase the heritage and traditions of the indigenous people.

Traditions of Gawai Dayak

Gawai Dayak comes from Gawai meaning festival and Dayak are the native people of Borneo, the largest island in Asia.

The festival may have originated in centuries-old agricultural traditions, but the origins of the modern festival date back to the early 1960s when it was first introduced as a way to celebrate Dayak traditions and culture after decades of colonial rule. Gawai Dayak has been gazetted as a public holiday in Sarawak since June 1st 1965.

The festival focuses on food and drink, dancing and the wearing of traditional dress.

Though not a Christian festival, many Dayak converted to Christianity in the past, so local churches celebrate the occasion with special masses, in which elements of tribal prayers are inserted, songs and dances. Many parishioners wear traditional clothes and at the end of the ritual local dishes are served, as thanks for the good harvest.

Sarawak, on the northwest of Borneo, is the largest of Malaysia's 13 states by area.

Gawai is preceded on Borneo by Kaamatan, another ethnic harvest festival celebrated in Sabah on May 30th and 31st.

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