Friday, January 28, 2011

Melanau New Year

12:55 AM

The seraheng - offering basked
Image by abbybiha: Seraheing- Offering Basket during Kaul festival.
New Year and the Month of Taboo

January 1st is the start or advent of a new year for those people who follow the Gregorian calendar. It marks the end of one year and the start of the next year and is the day on which the year count is incremented.

According to the old Roman Calendar, New Year was initially on March 1st. Later the romans under the order of Julius Caesar established January 1st as New Year's Day in 46BC. January was named after Janus, the god of gates, doors and beginnings.

For many societies the month January signifies a renewal of life. Hence the Spirit of celebration for the regeneration while discarding the old and worn out. On the contrary, the month January coincides with the eleventh month of melanau calendar called Bulan Pemalei (The month of Taboo.) This Month is to remind the tragic killing of a great shaman ( a bebayuh) in ancient times. Hence all activities such as Marriage, fishing, planting or any activities of livelihood are not allowed during this month. It is regarded as a month of ill fortune. Therefore New Year's Day on 1st of January is actualy celebrated on the melanau month of ill fortune

The Melanau however celebrate their New Year on Bulan Pengejin (The month of the Spirits) which coincides with the month of March. Kaul Festival is celebrated to welcome the New Year.

List of some cultures that celebrate New Year on March:

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