KUCHING: Cultural performances by various races in Sarawak were the highlight of the GawaI Open House organised by the state’s Dayak leaders at the Borneo Kuching Convention Centre here today.

Guests of the open house, which lasted from 10 am to 4 pm, were greeted by three of the four last Bidayuh ring ladies, who adorn their forearms and lower legs with bronze rings, and Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and his wife Toh Puan Fauziah Mohd Sanusi were guests of honour.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and his wife Datin Sri Ruziah Mohd Tahir, Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Dr Abang Johari Tun Openg and his wife Puan Sri Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, deputy premiers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Tian as well as federal government and Sarawak state ministers attended the event today.

As minister in charge of the event, Uggah said around 7,000 guests attended this year’s Open House.

“Our objective (is) to showcase the unity and the cultures in Sarawak and I can see it is a success., There are the three Bidayuh ring ladies and in future there are many other cultures to display,” he told reporters at the event today.

Gawai Dayak is a Dayak community festival showing their gratitude following the rice harvest season and appreciation to their continued bounty and livelihood.

It is celebrated every June 1 and 2 in Sarawak, especially by the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu.