Melanau Tribe

2 February 2017

This costume bears strong resemblance to the traditional outfit worn by Malay men, called the baju melayu, and it even incorporates the wearing of a samping around the waist. Accordingly, the traditional costume for the Melanau womenfolk closely resembles the baju kurung donned by Malay ladies.

Religion While originally animists, the majority of the Melanaus are now Muslim, although some of them, especially among the Melanau Mukah and Dalat, are Christian. Although most Melanaus are now Muslims or Christians, their forefathers’ religion was Liko, which means ‘people of the river’.Nonetheless, many still celebrate traditional rites such as the annual Kaul Festival. The Kaul used to be regarded as a religious annual ceremony to appease the spirits of all surrounding the people – the sea, the forest, the land and the farm. Desp ite their different beliefs and religions, the Melanaus, like the rest of East Malaysians (Sabah and Sarawak) are very tolerant of each other and they rightly feel proud of their tolerance. We would still come across a Melanau family with different child family members embracing Christianity and Islam while their parents still have strong animist belief.Today, however, the Pesta Kaul is celebrated more as a cultural festival, rather than a religious one .

Melanau Tribe Essay Example

The Melanau are described as open, friendly, outgoing, and non-aggressive people. They value their relationships with friends and family members. Gotong-royong ‘mutual assistance’ is still practiced, especially during weddings, funerals, and farming. Food Being a coastal community, Melanau food is largely based on bounties from the sea. They are blessed with very good catch both from the sea and rivers, and Mukah is rightly famous for it’s seafood.One of the most famous Mukah dish is “Umai”, raw fish prepared with ginger, chili and lime juice. For raw fish aficianados, this is simplicity at it’s best – just the freshest ingredient seasoned very sparingly to preserve the natural flavours.

Umai was originally a food of convenience for Melanau fishermen on fishing trips to the sea. Traditionally, umai is thinly sliced raw fish marinated with ‘assam paya’, a very sour fruit of a wild palm, onions, chillies, and a pinch of salt. Umai is to Melanaus what sushi is to Japanese.Today, umai is on the menus of posh restaurants and is often the piece de resistance of dinners and lunches. Tebaloi – the food that is synonymous with the Melanau of Sarawak. Tebaloi is some sort of a cracker made from sago powder (in shredded form). A typical Melanau meal consists of rice with smoked, dried and preserved seafood.

There are also cooked dishes such as curry and vegetables. Of all the Melanau delicacies, linut is considered as the most complete dish because it is served with ulam such as herbs and vegetables plus smoked or salted fish, spicy gravy and sambal.Linut is normally served during a family reunion or a gathering of friends and visitors. All these things tend to be ignored by the younger generation. Linut is now popular among the people because it is not only unique but also tasty. With a bit of innovation, linut will not only remain a unique traditional dish, it can also become other source of income for the Melanau community. DIALECT The Melanau language consists of various dialects—: Mukah, Balingian, Oya, Dalat, Daro-Matu, Rajang, Kanowit, Sibu, Bintulu, Seru and Tanjong (except for Melanau Bintulu dialect which can hardly be understood by the rest.

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