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.
Region is Southern Asia
Climate here is Tropical
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This tribe speak Buri Lun Bawang or Buri tau, meaning ''our language''.
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.
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.
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