The Lun Bawang
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The Lun Bawang

Friendly agriculturalist

Friendly agriculturalist

The Lun Bawang ethnic group can be found in Central Northern Borneo. Most communities live in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. No matter how far away from home this adventure takes you, the Lun Bawang's renowned hospitality will make you feel part of the community. Soak up their sunny perspective while you take in local traditions and arts.
Snapshot

Snapshot

  • Region is Southern Asia

  • Climate here is Tropical

  • The challenge here is Casual

  • This trip has been rated 5 by other travelers

Life

Life

While rice plantations are their main traditional economic activity, today some of the Lun Bawang work within the wider Borneo society, working across government and private sector.
Home

Home

The Lun Bawang live in longhouses. These are built raised off the ground on stilts, along one side there is an open public area and on the other side a row of private living units each with a single door for each family. A longhouse could be occupied by dozen of families.

Culture

Social Structure

The social and political structures are similar with other tribes living in the area, with social classes and communal organisational structure which is hereditary in nature. The village chief post is inherited and the longhouse community is closely knit since everyone is related.

Religion

The group was originally animist before the arrival of Christian missionaries (particularly of the Borneo Evangelical Mission) who have since converted some of the community.

Traditions

In the past, men used to wear jackets made of tree barks called “kuyu talun”. The traditional costume includes also a cloth wrapped around the forehead and a long machete (pelepet) tied to the waist. Women, wear “pata” on their head, a beaded beret, and beaded bracelets and necklace. The "Pata", is worn as a status symbol.

Language

This tribe speak Buri Lun Bawang or Buri tau, meaning ''our language''.

Art

The Lun Bawang create a colorful array of arts including jewelry, sunhats and traditional costumes. As with many tribes in Sarawak, tattooing is also an important part of the tribe’s heritage.

Celebrations

They celebrate Irau Aco Lun Bawang (Lun Bawang festival) annually on the first of June in Lawas, Sarawak, to celebrate the rice harvest, but now it showcases a variety of cultural events such as Ruran Ulung (beauty pageant contest) and Ngiup Suling (bamboo musical instrument band). In Sipitang district of Sabah, they celebrate the harvest festival (Kaamatan) biennially during the Festival of GATA (Gasing and Tamu Besar), during which people dress traditionally.
Further knowledge

Further knowledge

The Lun Bawang tribe is considered as one of the most hospitable people. Today, some Lun Bawang are highly educated and holding high posts in various government department and private sector.


Photo credit: Longhouse
iStock.com/Eucagallery

Photos credit: Sarawak women 1 & 2
Visit Sarawak Tourism

Photo credit: Working with rattan
iStock.com/nyiragongo

Bridge in Borneo Photo credit:
iStock.com/Pe3check