Feasts, Festivals, a/jd Dancing.
war and inspirer of bravery, from whom Dyaks are very fond of tracing their descent. Why the Tenyalang should represent the Rhinoceros Hornbill, and not the hawk, is an apparent inconsistency of which I have never been able to learn any explanation. It is, perhaps, too much to say that this is an idolatrous feast, for there is no proper worship of anything in it ; the nearest approach to religious wrorship is the offering of food, and this is done without anything of religious reverence, as a mere observance of an ancient custom. It is a bare recognition of the higher powers, whatever they may be.
" Nor are the guests required to share in any religious worship. They witness the head feasting, but this is but a celebration of victory, and, though most unchristian and disgusting to European feeling, involves no religious ceremony.
44 The social character of the feast is of more practical importance than the religious, and feasting the guests occupies more attention than feeding the
Wooden Mask. From Longwei. Length, 2ft.J (British Mus.)
gods. In some places, at least among the Sea Dyaks, the term Gawei is also used of simply eating together, equivalent to the English 4 dinner-party,' which they would call a 4 Gawei. In Malay and Land Dyak, too, 4 Gawei ' is 4 festival,' whether religious or not. In these feasts the obligations of friendship are acknowledged, and hospitality carried out even to prodigality. Here an opportunity is afforded for the celebration of social mirth and joy, which must be expressed with some such circumstances whether in a gathering of Europeans or in a feast of savages. To refuse to attend would not be regarded as any indignity done to their religion, but as a sign of ill-will to the inmates of the house. It is a social gathering of the tribe, when the dignity, the wealth, and position of the chiefs are brought prominently before the many ; and everyone displays his finery and his importance according to his ability.
44 Here, too, topics of common interest are discussed and plans formed, so that the feast assumes something of the character of a council, and affords one of the best opportunities for indulging in their intense love of 4 bechara.' Sociability, friendship, love of pleasure, religious instinct, and traditional custom, are all here united....." (Perham Miss. Life 1871, p. 502.)