Exploring Borneo's Rich Tapestry at Mari Mari Cultural Village

In the heart of Borneo, the Mari Mari Cultural Village stands as a testament to the region's vibrant ethnic culture. Established in 1996 as a non-profit organisation, its mission is clear: to preserve and share the customs and traditions of Borneo's diverse tribes. A recent journey into this cultural haven was a fascinating immersion into the traditions of the Dusun, Rungus, Lundayeh, Murut, and Bajau tribes.

A Warm Welcome to Tradition

Upon entering the Mari Mari Cultural Village, traditional attired staff gave a customary welcome ceremony, setting the tone for an authentic experience. The entrance, adorned with symbols reflecting the spiritual beliefs of Borneo's ethnic groups, served as a prelude to the unique journey that awaited.

Dusun Tribe: Bamboo Homes and Rice Wine Secrets

Here, visitors will discover the intricacies of Dusun tribe life—the bamboo construction of their homes, the open-air kitchen for safety, and the ancient art of tribal smoking for food preparation. Highlight of the visit was the demonstration of crafting kayu berlian furniture and the delightful tasting of their traditional rice wine, Lihing, and another called Montoku.

Rungus Long House: Honey Tasting and Musical Revelry

The Rungus longhouse unfolded the tales of the fourth largest tribe in Sabah. Visitors are offered samples of madu kelulut, a Rungus specialty.

Lundayeh Tribe: Totemic Traditions and Bark Craftsmanship

The Lundayeh Tribe, also known as Lun Bawang, are located in the area of Ulu Padas. Visitors will marvel at the totemic crocodile-shaped monument that stands outside the house, as well as discover the traditional skills of crafting clothing and baskets from tree barks.

Murut Tribe: Lansaran Dance and Bravery Traditions

At the traditional Murut longhouse, the tribe showcased their bravery in warfare through the exhilarating "Lansaran" dance. Dancing on bamboo-sprung wooden platforms, resembling trampolines, conveyed the Murut people's unique form of entertainment.

Bajau Tribe: Culinary Delights and Sea Gypsy Affluence

The Bajau tribe house was the last stop on the agenda. Here, visitors witnessed the preparation of kuih jala. The Bajau, with two distinct groups—the sea gypsies and land Bajau—displayed their affluence through vibrant decorations and well-furnished homes.

In the heart of Borneo, where traditions echo through time, Mari Mari Cultural Village emerges not just as a destination but as a living tapestry, weaving the stories of Borneo's diverse tribes into an immersive and unforgettable experience.

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