Irau Aco Lun Bawang

Lun Bawang Ladies Flutists
This is a post by Samuil-Ashton Satu, the 8th President of the Lun Bawang Association.

The Irau Aco Lun Bawang is a day of celebration for the Lun Bawang community to showcase its cultural heritage which is similar to that of Gawai Dayak. In this celebration of the Irau Aco Lun Bawang, it focuses mainly on the cultural heritage of the Lun Bawang particularly on traditional costumes with accessories (beads, ornaments, etc) worn by man and woman alike; traditional games (blowpipe shooting, buffalo racing, etc) as well as modern games like football, badminton, golf, etc.; traditional music like Bamboo Band, peritubang, telingut, ruding, etc.; traditional dances; the crowning of Ruran Ulung (Maiden) & Padan Liu Burung (Warrior) and most importantly a day of thanksgiving to commemorate the en-block or corporate conversion of the Lun Bawang into Christianity under the Borneo Evangelical Mission (now commonly called Sidang Injil Borneo).

The conversion of the community into believing the eternal life in Jesus Christ had caused most of its traditional practices disappearing as their faith are corporately strengthened. It is through the Irau Aco Lun Bawang that some of the community’s traditional cultures, which are found theologically accepted by a panel of the church pastors, are brought to the knowledge of younger generations and the outside people or other communities.

Lun Bawang Tribal Dance

The Irau Aco Lun Bawang was first celebrated by the Lun Bawang for its own community but later integrated to include other communities like the Malays, Kedayan, Chinese, Tagal and other Dayaks in Lawas District. The first Irau Aco Lun Bawang was organized in the year 1984 at Kpg Long Tuma, Lawas after its official inception in 1977. It was by 1997 that the Tourism Ministry declared the Irau Aco Lun Bawang as one of Malaysian Fiesta or festivals and thereby emplaced it into the Tourism Calendar every 1 – 2nd June of the year.

The 15th Irau Aco Lun Bawang in 2002 had put on records a number of achievements like setting a Malaysia Book of Records for “The Biggest Lun Bawang Bamboo Band Performance”, The Sarawak Book of Records as the “Longest Lun Bawang Bamboo Band” , launching its website : and celebrating the recognition by the State Government of Sarawak that the Lun Bawang Community was then now identified as the Lun Bawang instead of the derogatory term of “Murut” by the British Colony.

Each Irau will have its own theme, an example is the theme for the 23rd edition is “Acheh Terawe, Acheh Lawe” which means One vision, One Direction” which is an element of the Prime Minister’s 1 Malaysia Concept.

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