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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kumang(The mother goddess of the Ibans)

Borneo we're known as decendant of KUMANG, The mother goddess of the Ibans,the Sea Dayaks of Borneo.
 Kumang,whose back was white, scorched by the setting sun, had charge of paradise, which was the home of Bujang, the first Iban. This land was situated near Mecca, whence Bujang's descendants wandered to Sumatra, then to Borneo, often in the company of tribal divinities. Possibly this legendary migration from West Asia is a reference to the arrival of important ideas, perhaps carried by a few leaders, rather than any actual movement of people. A sense of proximity with the spiritual world is an everyday feature of life in Iban longhouses, villages under one roof, and during each gawai, or festival, it is customary to invite the attendance of both ancestors and deities. There are also many tales of the appearance of the god in dreams.

On one occasion KUMANG appeared to a shy young warrior and informed him that a petrified bamboo shoot he had found was in fact a charm-stone which would make him a great war leader. Head-hunting was until recent times the crowning proof of manhood, not least because the possession of heads bestowed magical power. War leaders have a tua, or guardian spirit. If the tua is the python, it signified that he is guided in battle by his ancestors; if it is the cobra, he is guided by Kling, the god of war. Snakes are the most common guardian spirits, but other tua are wild cats and deer. One normally learns of one's tua by means of a dream.

 It was believed that Kumang possessed the mystical power and it was said that she's the fairest maiden that she had captured the heart of the prince, 'Keling'.  Kumang was every man's dream, she's a domestic Goddess too.  She can weave the 'Pua Kumbu', she was able to handle the house chores and it is every parents dream that their girls will possess Kumang's good qualities.

The traditional Kumang Gawai competition. It is a local traditional beauty pageant competition searching for a girl that is not only beautiful, brilliant, kind and with an image of perfect woman like KUMANG.
She also should have a deep understanding about their custom and tradition. This competition is very different from modern beauty pageant where the contestants parade in evening gown or posing in two piece bikini. Contestant in  Kumang Gawai will only parade in their traditional costume.

The first modern Kumang Gawai in Sarawak is  Senorita Linang. She was crowned for three consecutive years that is in 1966, 1967 and 1969.
She is also represent Sarawak in Miss Malaysia Float Queen 1967 and was placed 2nd runner up after Miss Kedah and Miss Penang.
Senorita Linang during Miss Malaysia Float Queen 1967 with Malaysia 1st Prime Minister.
Kumang Gawai Pageant  at Rumah Dayak  in early 1970.
Kumang Gawai Pageant  at Rumah Dayak  in year 1978. 
Kumang Gawai Hornbill Festival 2010(Warisan Sarawak Kuala Lumpur) at Malaysia Tourism Centre

Kumang Pageant Winner  SDNU (Sarawak Dayak National Union) 2010

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