AN incredible 74,000 visitors are expected to throng the seaside town of Mukah to attend this year’s Kaul Festival at Kala Dana Beach.
Themed “Simply Unique”, some 70,000 visitors be made up of the public and tourists, while the rest would be invited guests and civil servants as well as event participants.
This is amazing when you consider that according to the 2010 Census, the total population for Mukah District stood at around 43,000.
So Mukah can expect nearly double its population in visitors during the nine-day festival!
Kaul is a traditional Melanau festival that originates from animistic beliefs. It is a purification and thanksgiving ritual to appease the spirits of the sea, land, forests and farm.
Today, the Kaul Festival is celebrated more as a cultural rather than religious event.
If you want to catch the kaul ritual, it will be performed at Tugek, Kala Dana beach on April 20 at 7am.
The ritual is essentially a presentation of offerings in the form of food and other items in a serahang (woven container on stilts), placed at a certain spot at Tugek.
The ceremony hopes to appease the spirits, so that they will provide for and bless the people with security and prosperity in the months ahead.
This is fascinating stuff and visitors can really look forward to the unique colourful spectacle of it all.
This is very much a part of our State’s culture and makes an excellent tourism product, which deserves international recognition much like Carnival is for Brazil and Songkran is for Thailand.
Hopefully one day when someone says Gawai or Kaul overseas, everyone will immediately think of Sarawak. With the right marketing and promotion, the possibilities are endless.
This year’s programme promises lots of interesting activities daily including new additions such as beautifully decorated river taxis, which will also be the mode of transportation of choice throughout the event, helicopter rides and exhibition on April 21-22, Elvis Presley Sarawak showcase on April 25 (long live ‘The King!’) and the Mukah International Beach Triathlon on April 29.
There will also be traditional Melanau dances, the giant tibau swing, fishing competition and photo competition. For the full list of events check out the official festival site here.
Kaul is a great way to put the spotlight on Mukah! Let’s spread the word and if you can, do attend the festival yourself.
A report from The Star:
Mukah Kaul expects to draw over 70,000 visitors this year
MUKAH: With the theme “Simply Unique”, this year’s Mukah Kaul at Kala Dana beach here from April 21 to 29 is expected to attract about 74,000 visitors, including foreign tourists.
This was the target set by event organisers during a recent committee meeting here.
Of the total estimate, some 70,000 visitors would consist of members of the public and tourists, while the remaining 5,000 would include VVIPs (50), department heads (350), community leaders (300), association and club leaders (100), participants of the event’s activity, sales and community stalls (3,000) as well as officials (500).
The nine-day festival will be packed with interesting activities daily including some new additions involving foreign participation.
Among these new additions are beautifully decorated river taxis that will serve as transportation throughout the event, special helicopter ride and exhibition on April 21-22, the “Elvis Presley Sarawak” showcase on April 25 and the Mukah International Beach Triathlon on April 29.
“Altogether, 39 types of activities have been lined up for the festival as at March 28, but they are still subject to latest amendment,” said the organising committee.
Meanwhlie, a kaul ritual will be performed at Tugek, Kala Dana beach on April 20 at 7am.
The rtitaul is making a return after an absence of some years since the annual festival was elevated and promoted as one of the state’s tourism products.
The ritual is essentially a presentation of offerings in the form of food and other items put in a serahang (woven container on stilt) and placed at a certain spot at Tugek.
The ceremony is held in the belief that it will appease the spirits of the sea and forest.
The appeased spirits will in turn provide and bless the people with security and prosperity in the months ahead until the next ceremony.