Huge Success At Annual Festival Gathering The Largest Lun Bawang Native In Borneo

LAWAS: The 36th annual Irau Aco Lun Bawang (Lun Bawang Festival) was a huge success when it gathered the largest ever gathering of Lun Bawang natives from Sarawak, Sabah, Labuan, Brunei (Temburong) and Indonesia (Kalimantan) who participated in at least 50 activities throughout the festival held from 1 till 3 June in Lawas, Sarawak.

Irau Aco Lun Bawang (Lun Bawang Festival) kicked off earlier with the modern sports activities such as football, volleyball and badminton seeing at least 100 teams participating while the Lun Bawang Bazaar saw a record entry of 102 booths opened during the festival where a wide range variety of products and services were selling including local made cuisines aside from handicrafts, local produced products, and services such as kampung-style massage, foot, and hand spa.

 “This year, the festival is so vibrant and lively as we received participation from all age groups and from as far as Krayan in Indonesia who came in with at least 100 participants. And the activities commemorating the celebration of the harvest for the Lun Bawang were also showcased through a diverse range of cultural performances,” said Dolphina Balang, President, Lun Bawang Association of Sarawak.

The Association also welcomed participants from various ethnic groups which participated in the cultural affair through performances and displays including the Kedayan, Iban, Chinese, Kayan from Baram, Lun Dayeh from Sipitang, Sabah, Tagal from Long Tengoa and Dusun from Nabawan, Sabah.

One of the highlights during the festival was the exhibition of Lun Bawang music and cultural extravagance including the Tapi’ instrument and gong performances, blow pipe exhibition and a dialogue on the Lun Bawang effigy and its old ancestral customs.

Dolphina added, “Irau Aco Lun Bawang (Lun Bawang Festival) has proven to be a success and a destination for all to visit Lawas and the offering it must give to visitors. We are grateful for the support rendered from the Limbang Resident Office and Lawas District Office which is pinnacle to the success of this year’s festival.”

Irau Aco Lun Bawang (Lun Bawang Festival) was officiated by YB Dato Henry Sum Agong, Lawas Member of Parliament and witnessed by YB Baru Bian (Ba’ Kelalan assemblyman) and Laden bin Atok (Lawas District Officer) where thelaunching ceremony saw 200 Lun Bawang women performing the welcoming dance accompanied by live gong performance and bamboo band.

During the officiating ceremony, a special gimmick to launch the 36th edition of the festival was held with the playing of ‘tubung’ instrument by 36 guests of honours led by YB Dato Henry.

The instrument is significant to the Lun Bawang community as a symbol of announcement in the village before an activity starts or begins. Right after, the guests of honours were also treated to a Lun Bawang traditional food display which comprises at least 100 dishes prepared by the villagers of Long Semadoh.

The festival’s theme of ‘Culture Inspires Unity’ was significant in unifying Lun Bawang’s largest ever gathering of the natives in Borneo through all the activities that was held with the large-scale turnout of at least 2,500 participants and 20,000 visitors. The support rendered from corporate partners like Sarawak Energy was significant in making sure the festival could deliver its promise.

“The support from our corporate sponsor is a testament that this festival is worth the investment for its large gathering and following. Irau Aco Lun Bawang (Lun Bawang Festival) is not just a celebration but a gathering of many natives together and promoting unity,” said Jude Benjamin Lisa, Organizing Chairman, Irau Aco Lun Bawang 2023.

The 36th edition also received support from other corporate partners like CelcomDigi, CENTEX Sarawak, Ducati Brunei, HausBoom, Malaysia Aviation Group, MR DIY, Ocean Vantage Holdings Berhad, Sarawak Media Group and Spritzer while merchandise partners including Clay Apparel, D&C Sport and Meling Creative. Irau Aco Lun Bawang (Lun Bawang Festival) is presented and endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts of Sarawak.

At the finale night, the new Queen and King of the festival named Ruran Ulung and Padan Liu Burung were conferred and won by Jessica Ruth Kading from Jalan Trusan and Royvernand Jaydarren Ronnie from Trusan Tengah respectively.

Winners received cash prizes totaling RM15,000 and air flight tickets sponsored from Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and MAS Wings worth RM10,000 in total.

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