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Ambon People
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THE DAYAK PEOPLE

The area covers 152.600 square kilometers with residents settling along the river banks of Barito, Kapuas, Kahayan, Katingan, Mentoya, Seuyan, Kurnai, Arut, Jelai, and others. On such a vast area have population number only around 750.000 according to the census in 1971.

Organizationally, central Kalimantan is an administrative unit of a Province with the Governor is the head of the local government. The lowest administrative unit is a pembekal, the head of a Desa ( a unit of settlement ). Within this level of government there is also a customary organization. Most of them work on the dry farming and move from one place to an other within their area ( not like nomad ). Local government has the policy of opening the area for transmigration they expect from Java, Bali to develop their area.

Physically they have mongoloid characters, and also speak Malayu-Polinesian language. Their color is rather bright with yellow tone, and straight hairs. The villages of Dayak in central Kalimantan are separated far between one to another. The settlements are constructed on the bank of big and small rivers which houses are standing parallel with the flow of river or road, and an average of 100 to 500 people in a village. Transportation between villages are still using water, very rare facilities of land connection. The shape of their houses showing the same concept as beach houses of Mentawai, Nias Sulawesi and other ethnics of Indonesia, especially the technique of high house. The house is built on 1.5 high wooden poles almost like stilt houses.

In the past the house was made in big size with 50 small rooms called Betang-betang, known as Dayak Long House. Today this houses are very rare, and can only found at Northern area, near the source of the river and at the area of Ot Danum Dayak Villages. Today the houses are more smaller which is home for on senior family plus their junior families which some times consist to 5 families. The main source of life of the Dayak is traditional farming on dry land. They clear and burn the forest and plant their main farming. Clearing a forest in traditional way indeed a hard job. To overcome this heavy job the Dayak develops co-operation among neighbors or relative member who got assistance, naturally assist their neighbor who have assisted them before. During the month of May, June and July they cut the trees of the forest, and burn it on September. October the plant rice. The way and technique is still very simple. The men will form a row at the front walking ahead while making holes by their single wooden pole, and women with seeds at behind putting the seed in every hole. Starting from plantation until harvest they stay at the farm to watch the rice and prevent the wild animals such as monkeys, pigs, and deer to damage the plant. During the growing the responsibility will be at every family, although during preparation of land until planting is the work of co-operation. To protect the farming from wild animal they also put trap made of bamboo with very sharp pole. The pole is connected with a long rope, and if the rope is stepped the sharp pole will glite like a bow to the direction of rope. It is often that the sharp bamboo is given a poisson, so it is actually very dangerous to human being also. They have 3 types of rice, a type that yield after 6 months, 4 month and rice called "Ketan" for ceremony.

Beside rice they also grow cassava, yam, taro, chili, durian, melon and areca. When the land is not fertile any more it is planted with rubber tree before it is lef to open a new forest. It is interesting to find that to open a new spot of land the people will see a good indication from bird and other nature's omens. If this procedure is not followed they believed that famine would unavoidable. As the source of protein they catch fish and some times catching wild pig or deer, as their hunting tool is not develop.

During ceremony or hosting important guests they cut pigs, buffalo or chicken. So these kind of meat only made available during ceremony. Side income for them is collecting rattan, taping rubber, and resine in the forest. The Dayak is very skillful in weaving by rattan, they make hats, mat, basket, and others which is the work of women. The villages of Dayak in the inner part of Kalimanatn do not yet have market, so they sell their products to the merchants that come to their villages, or some bring themselves to the cities such as Kuala Kapuas or even Banjarmasin, the capital city of South Kalimantan. Kinship system of Dayak is based on big family which in the past reside the long house both based on Patrilineal or matrilineal. This unit of big family also as the base of working co-operation for planting rice, opening new forest and other big and heavy job. For marriage the most ideal is those generation having the same grand father or grand mother. Considered tabou is marriage between brothers, child to parents, and if their fathers are brothers (pa tri-parallel-cousin).

Intimate relation between different generations such as child parent is a big offence and will be punishes by eating like pig, while walking like pig on the front of the village members. According to them this action is a "Tulah" exactly the meaning like Balinese word means offence, while can cause a big catastrophe not only for those doers, but for the society. That is why the people will fine the guilty to conduct a ceremony to neutralize the danger arised from this offensive deed. Relation between youth and girls is watched by the elders, they only free to communicate at the places such as feast or ceremonies. A youth and girl can only walk together if it is watched or escorted by third person. That is also happened for a married women and married man can talk each other at the present of third person. If this is done in contradictory with above tradition it will be punishment accordingly to their traditional law. In the past parent had full authority to find their son a partner. The parent would come to the family of the girl explaining their purpose and gave what is called "hakumbang auch" literally means money for request the girl to be married with their son. The parent of the girl did not directly answer the request, yet delay it until some days, The girl's parent with their relatives then look for information about the youth, lest he is son of slave or "hantuen" (devil manifestation), or he is a descendant of good family and having good character. If the finding say that they youth is what is not expected the request will be refused and the money will be returned. When they request is accepted a ceremony of engagement will be conducted which cost will be born by girl's family. They youth family gives gifts of cloth golden ring, fabric for shirt and others. During this ceremony, pig is the main meat, while chicken is considered not having value or undervalued. Marriage ceremony take places after 2 or 3 months. Since engagement ceremony. In case the girl has older sister still single, a gift of gong (music instrument) or chinese ceramic must be given to her to prevent danger. This thought also exist in Bali, that a younger sister or brother is not expected to merry first before his/her older brother or sister as this can caused disharmony of the married couple.

There is also a marriage called "Ijari" means "run". This type of marriage come from the couple who have decided to merry the go together to the head of the village, or to an elders whose position in the village is considered influential. The head of the village or the elders then contact the related families explaining the situation. From this start the process as above. In the Dayak society both Christian and the Hindu of Kaharingan is monogamy, although their tradition does not limited a man to merry more then once, but it almost never happened, not like in Java and Lombok where a man can merry many times and having children as they wish. Divorce are normal which causes by disharmony or one of either husband or wife has another love affair.



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