Celebrate Christmas the Kenyah Way

Hello everyone!

Christmas day has just passed by but honestly I am still in the Christmas mood. Especially that I got to celebrate it back in my grandmother's village, Kampung Lepo Gah Tanjung Tepalit. Celebrating it here is nothing like celebrating it anywhere else.

But due to the rainy season, slippery and bumpy roads, my family often finds it hard to go back. Plus, the transportation fee for each person is RM100 each way. But this year, we made a point to be there, to celebrate Christmas with my grandmother. It has been 4 years since we celebrated it together.

Celebrating Christmas here has always been fun for as long as I can remember. Maybe because I get to meet my relatives. While I was younger, my cousins and I really enjoyed running along the verandah. Sleeping together in the big living room was also memorable because it's like having a huge sleepover.

Before Christmas day itself, there will caroling at the longhouse, from one house to the other. And on Christmas Eve, some games are played during the day so that everyone can have fun together. The program is then continued at night so we can wait for midnight together. This usually involves some traditional dancing, called ngajat. As the clock stroked 12, fireworks were played and everyone will wish each other a Merry Christmas.

On Christmas day, the villagers will gather at the veranda for a lunch together. Food will be shared, music will be played. For me, this is a really special event because I don't get to experience it anywhere else.

On the night of Christmas day, it has become a tradition where the villagers will visit each house and this involves a lot of dancing and drinking. We call this 'ngabang'. This will continue until the end of the longhouse.

The celebration doesn't end here because on the next day, a picnic by the river is organized almost every year. This is another event that I often look forward to!

I don't think words can describe how fun my Christmas was, so here's a simple vlog to take you along with us on our Christmas celebration!

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Comments 5

Looks like you had a great time with friends and family

30.12.2019 14:50

Haha yes I did!

30.12.2019 23:18
Coming from a life at the Equator, I love seeing that beautiful rich plant life and wish I could be there - but then I remember the insects...and I am okay with being where I am


Still it is home to you and I am glad you had such a wonderful time, shared by people you love.

30.12.2019 15:33

Ah yes that's true! The mosquitoes and sand flies are the worst!

30.12.2019 23:38