Kaul Festival

Kaul festival or "Kaul" as it is known by the local was and still is the most important event in the life of a Melanau. This ancient festival was carried out to mark the beginning of a Melanau calender and the ceremony to appease the spirits or "ipok" of the seas, the land and sky.

Kaul was celebrated in the most revered and spiritual manner with certain strict rules to observe. In the past kaul would be celebrated at the end of February but now kaul is celebrated by the Melanau in the third week of April, anually.

During the occasion all villagers would congregate on the beach at Mukah river mouth, bringing traditional food, snacks and mouthwatering savouries. Mukah town and the surrounding villages would be pratically deserted. All sorts of traditional games also would be played with the demonstration of martial arts like mengalai and "silat".

The festival would start with offerings of traditional food in a special offering basket or "seraheng" which would be placed on the beach at a chosen site near the river mouth. If there were leftovers it would also be left near the seraheng site.

The highlight of the festival would be swinging and chanting on the twenty-foot high giant swing called "tibou".

Present day , Melanau have converted to either Muslim or Christian and kaul is more of a social-cultural gathering than anything else. Now it is an occasion to revive the cultural awareness among the younger generations of Melanau as well as promoting KAUL FESTIVAL as one of Sarawak tourist attraction.

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