Tiwah, Traditional Ritual of The Dayak Tribe, Central Kalimantan

Photo Source: Kompas

INDEPHEDIA.com - The Tiwah Ceremony or Tiwah Lale or Magah Salumpuk Liau Uluh Matei is a death ritual at the last level for Hindu Kaharingan adherents, the original belief of the Dayak Ngaju Tribe in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, as a sign of their noble devotion.

The purpose of holding this ceremony is to deliver the souls or spirits of people who have passed away to their destination, namely Lewu Tatau Dia Rumpang Tulang, Rundung Raja Dia Kamalesu Uhate, Lewu Tatau Habaras Bulau, Habusung Hintan, Hakarangan Lamiang or Lewu Liau which are located in the sky to seven.

For the Dayak tribe, death needs to be perfected with further rituals so that the spirit can live peacefully with Ranying Hatalla. The Tiwah ceremony itself is the biggest sacred ceremony in the Dayak tribe. This is because the Tiwah ceremony involves a lot of resources, large funds and quite a long time.

Apart from delivering the souls or spirits of those who have passed away, Tiwah aims to relieve bad luck for the families left behind. This ceremony can also untie the widow or widower status of the spouse left behind, so that they can determine whether to look for a life partner again or not to marry forever.

Families or community groups who want to carry out the Tiwah ceremony must make a number of supporting materials and several sacrificial animals. Therefore, this delivery procession is not carried out for just one body, but dozens of bodies from various villages.

Time of Implementation and Procedures for the Tiwah Ceremony

The many stages in the Tiwah ceremony make this celebration last from 7 to 40 days. The time for holding the Tiwah ceremony is usually held after the rice harvest season, which is around May, June and July.

The choice of time after the harvest is because at that time people have sufficient food reserves for family members who will hold the Tiwah ceremony. In addition, the post-harvest period coincides with the school holidays.

The death ceremony in the beliefs of the Dayak Ngaju people is broadly divided into two. First, the ceremonies performed after someone's death until the time of burial. While the second stage of the Tiwah ceremony itself.

The two ceremonies usually have a break. Generally, this gap lasts from one year to several years. This delay was caused by the problem of the high cost of the Tiwah ceremony so that the family postponed the implementation to raise funds first.

In preparing for the Tiwah ceremony, the family must first build a balai nyahu, which is a place to store the bones that have been cleaned. Then, the family must make pavilions or cloth flags, the number of which must be the same as the bodies to be tiwahkan.

After that, the family put the bones in the nyahu hall. These stages are called Tabuh I, Tabuh II, and Tabuh III. This is a risky stage because this is where the spirits begin to be delivered to lewu tatau. Tabuh performed three days in a row.

The next stage is for the family to perform the Manganjan dance while circling the sangkai raya (where the pavilions and offerings for Ranying Hatalla are located) and sapundu (a human-shaped statue). So joyful and happy because their family spirit ascended to heaven.

Sapundu serves as a place to bind buffalo, cows, chickens, or pigs which will later be sacrificed. The animals were stabbed to death by the families with spears. The first spearmen are the parents in the family tree. They believe the animal's blood will purify the spirit.

The heads of dead animals will be cut off and collected as food for the spirits. Meanwhile, the animal meat will be cooked for consumption together.

Abstinence in the Tiwah Ceremony

When the Tiwah ceremony takes place, it is not only interesting for the people of Central Kalimantan, but many domestic and foreign tourists want to see it.

As a sacred ceremony, there are a number of restrictions when witnessing the Tiwah ceremony. There are vegetables, types of animals and fish that may not be brought to the ceremony location. If this rule is violated, the violator will be subject to Tiwah customary sanctions. (US/IND)

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