A Dayak Desa Wedding Ceremony Using Traditional Textiles

The bride and groom with their attendents

Dayak Desa call a wedding pejadi. When the man arrives at the woman’s home to take his new bride to his family home (ngamik laki) the woman receives him wearing the traditional ikat skirt with shells and bells called tating (sold at Threads of Life). She wears a traditional headdress (pantung) and a beaded collar to cover the breasts called tatai.

The groom is accompanied by a male elder from his clan. They both wear a traditional plaited bamboo hat called a ketapu luang (also sold at Threads of Life). The male elder carries a sumpit or blow pipe decorated with seven different colored flowers representing the seven layers between the world of spirit and humans.

The blowpipe symbolizes strength and is used for hunting and in healing ceremonies. A blowpipe is made from a particular wood (Eusideroxylon zwageri) that is hollowed out so that a poisoned dart can be fired. The hole through the pipe is also representative of a connection between the world of spirit and the world ofliving. When a person is ill, the blowpipe is used to call the spirit of the person back.

The groom and the traditional leader wear a traditional hat ketapu luang. The elder carries a sumpit or blowpipe

Traditional motif ruit nyandik on an open textile called bidang

The importance of the blow pipe in Dayak culture is apparent as it also appears as a prominent motif (ruit nyandik )  on a traditional open textile (bidang).

During the weaving process of making a traditional natural dyed textile, a Dayak Desa woman will make simple offerings to the spirit of the textile so that the weaving goes well and no negative inflluence comes to the weaver or her family.

When she finishes the weaving, she will thank the spirits of the textile for all going well. The offering usually consists of cooked rice, egg or meat, betel nut (Acacea catechu) and piper betel leaf. Like the seven different flowers used to decorate the blow pipe, the weaver will circle the offering around the cloth to the right seven times, touch the cloth seven times, and then circle the cloth in the opposite direction seven times.

During the weaving process offerings are made to the spirit of the textile