Location : Dusun Rambai, Desa Sahan, Kecamatan Seluas, Kabupaten Bengkayang, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.
After witnessing so many Nyobengs through the years in many parts of West Kalimantan, we assumed that we knew everything about Bidayuh bamboo climbing. Although the inverted bamboo climbings in other villages were fun to watch, bamboo climbing here in Rambai was at a totally different level. If you have a weak heart, please don’t watch.
Once the ladies have led the villagers into the ‘arena’ next to the tall plaiee tree, all the 30 plus men started clearing the undergrowth.
Bidai mats were rolled out over the cleared area and the basket of skulls, machetes, bottles of tuak, lemangs and leave wrapped rice were placed on top. Suddenly, the place was buzzing with all kinds of traditional activities which were fun to watch. An altar was constructed with freshly harvested bamboo by one of the guy skillfully weaving the split pieces into a triangular shape before placing it on top of 3 vertical bamboo poles.
Palm leaves were weaved into a beautiful basket to hold sacrificial food.
Yet others were preparing the cute little portions of food to be offered to the gods they call ‘kamang’. Meanwhile the ladies chanted their mantras and offered visitors rice wine. Nearby, beating of gongs and wooden drum kept everyone motivated with the spirit of Gawai.
After almost 2 hours of hustle and bustle here in the jungle the 35m long bamboo was finally raised much to the excitement of the crowd. Villagers from all over Umbo, Nibong, Melayang, Panjak and as far as Sujah had come for the highlight of this Nyobeng.
Ritual before the climbing
The long bamboo was leaned against one of the branches of the giant plaiee tree without any ropes securing it to the tree. Scary. No harnesses were used. The climbers lives depended on their physical and spiritual strength. Out of the 7 tries only 2 were successful. There was a general disappointment over the poor result. After climbing, pig to be sacrificed
Some offered their analysis of what could have caused the failures of the climbers. One of them was overheard saying the bamboo was made impure by some kids sitting on it earlier as it laid on the ground. Next……..bits & pieces of Rambai
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