Thursday, September 24, 2009

Narakng, The Salako Version Of The Festival Of Light, Sort Of: Part 1

Narakng is another peculiar ritual tradition of the Salako community. If this traditional culture is not properly preserved, it will soon see the verge of extinction due to the fierce onslaught of contemporary "modern" fast ever changing way of life. The verb Narakng is derived from the root word tarakng, which loosely means "bright or light or free from darkness". As in many cultures, darkness symbolizes grief, despair and misfortune. So, the act of Narakng is to beseech the Higher Being for the gift of light, which symbolizes well being and prosperity and all that is positive and beneficial for humankind. The Salako term for humankind is taino. To perform a Narakng ritual is therefore an act of asking the Higher Being/God for the bestowal good health, peace, well being and plentiful harvest. The Salako equivalent for the Higher Being/God is Jubata. Jubata is also commonly referred to as Jubata Panampa' or God the Creator.

Narakng is rarely an annual affair due to it's exhaustive and meticulous nature to perform. Normally this very significant customary ritual is held at an interval of three to five years. However though, there were rare instances when it is performed at alternate year especially when the state of being of the (Salako) community is in acute hardship due to extreme misfortune such as severe drought or flood or a pandemic of illness.

A Narakng usually involves at least a few villages or kampokng, so the expenses for it to be held is naturally hefty. This though is not a hindrance because prior to one, there would be a bararis. A bararis is an act of voluntary contribution in the form of cash and kind. To this, every household or family and individuals would chip in without much fuss. Bararis is sometime referred to as nyangker. In the event that a Narakng would involve the whole Salako community like the one held in 1968, every kampokng is then required to perform their own rarisatn (derived from the root word raris). This though is extremely rare due to the huge logistic needed to cover the whole geography which may take days or even weeks.

The 'Tukang Baiyatn Narakng", Mr Lembi Ak Benet readying himself for the ritual.

Preparing the offertory prior to opening prayer of the Narakng.

The "Tukang Baiyatn Narakng" listening attentively to the opening prayer

The Binua/Tuha Binua, Mr Milos Ak Nimbun reciting the opening/offertory. The Salako call this the "Ngantek/Nyangahatn Pamadah"

The Narakng procession about to begin, starting to walk out of the "bantang" or longhouse

The Narakng procession going down from the "pante bantang" (long house veranda) to travel to the assigned route and locations.

A "Ngantek Pamadah" at the "Batu Pangada", a monument which mark the centennial existence of Kampokng Poe (Kampung Pueh)

The Baiyatn Narakng walking but with a some kind of a dance for this ritual.

Earthen jars at the "Pabuisatn" where "ngantek pamadah" is also performed.

The "Ngantek Pamadah" at the "Pabuisatn".

The Narakng procession moving out of the village towards another location.

The Narakng procession getting momentum when more people joined in as it passes by their houses.

The "Panyangahatn" doing a "Ngantek Pamadah" at the "Batu Pangada". This "Batu Pangada" is of note because on this monument is marked the date when Gawai Dayak is made the official state celebration. The writer (with vest) doing an audio recording of the prayer mantra.

A journey to the "kompokng tuha". A kompokng tuha is the oldest fruit orchard of a particular village where the  first settlers planted their fruit tress of various species notably the durian, langsat and ellipe nuts or the engkabang trees.

Stay tune for up coming series of Narakng.

The writer sincerely acknowledged and hold high the contributions of every Salako brethren from Kampokng Poe (Kampung Pueh) who have unceasingly tried hard to keep alive this rare and unique Narakng culture and tradition.

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