|Total population||200,000 (Sarawak only)|
|Regions with significant populations||Sarawak, West Kalimantan|
|Dialects||Bukar-Sadong, Singai-Jagoi, Biatah(Siburan, Padawan & Biatah), Bra'ang-Pinyawa, Sepug-Emperoh, Gumbang|
|Religion||Christianity & Animist|
|Related ethnic groups||Bekati', Binyadu, Jongkang, Ribun, Salako, Lara', Sanggau, Sara', Tringgus, Semandang, Ahé|
Bidayuh is the collective name for several indigenous groups found in southern Sarawak and northern West Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, that are broadly similar in language and culture (see also issues below). The name "Bidayuh" means 'inhabitants of land'. Originally from the western part of Borneo, the collective name Land Dayak was first used during the period of Rajah James Brooke, the White Rajah of Sarawak. They constitute one of the main indigenous groups in Sarawak & West Kalimantan and live in towns and villages around Kuching and Samarahan in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, while in West Kalimantan they are mainly concentrated in the northern Sanggau Regency. In Sarawak, most of Bidayuh population are found within 40 km of the geographical area known as Greater Kuching, within the Kuching and Samarahan division. They are the second largest Dayak ethnic group in Sarawak after the Iban and one of the major Dayak tribes in West Kalimantan.
Predominantly Bidayuh areas in Sarawak are: Lundu, Bau, Penrissen, Padawan, Siburan and Serian. Most of the Bidayuh villages can be found in the rural areas of Lundu, Bau, Padawan, Penrissen, and Serian district. The area continued to the adjecting West Kalimantan border where they resides in Kembayan, Noyan, Sekayam and Jangkang district in Sanggau Regency. The area in which they live is mainly in the basin of the Sarawak River and hilly to mountainous forest, traditionally worked by rotational agriculture and hunting based around farms populated from parent villages situated on the hills for protection. Today, almost all the traditional longhouse-villages have been replaced by individual houses, by roads and there is some plantation agriculture and a reduced emphasis on the growing of hill-padi. Fruit trees, especially Durian, remain important property markers. The distinctive architectural and cultural feature of the Bidayuh is the head-house, now adopted as a symbol.
In Sarawak there are generally said to be three main linguistic groupings (Biatah; Singai-Jagoi; Bukar-Sadong) but these can be broken down even beyond the list referenced below as most people can be distinguished by locals down to village level through smaller differences in vocabulary and intonation. Each area speaks its own dialect:
- Lundu speak Jagoi, Salako & Lara
- Bratak, Singai, Krokong and Jagoi speak Singai-Jagoi
- Penrissen speak Bisitang also people in Kampung Bunuk speak "Bunuk" (Segu-Benuk)
- Siburan vicinity speak Biatah
- Bidayuhs who live around Serian such as Tebakang, Mongkos, Tebedu to Tanjung Amo near the border of Kalimantan Indonesia speak Bukar-Sadong.
- Bidayuhs in Padawan speak several but related dialects like Bi-anah, Pinyawa, Braang, Bia', Bisepug & Emperoh/Bipuruh.
The Serian Bidayuhs have a distinct dialect known as the Bukar-Sadong Bidayuh, which is not intelligible to Bidayuhs from other Districts. Here are some examples of the differences in the various dialects spoken in Serian, with their English and Malay equivalents. Also included are two Philippine languages, Kapampangan and Tagalog:
|Father||Bapa||Amang||Sama||Sama||Sama'||Apak, Bapak,||Ibpâ, (Bapa - Uncle)||Amang, Ama|
|Mother||Ibu||Andĕ/ayang||Sino||Sendo||Sin(d)o||Inuk, Indok, Umak,||Indû||Inang, Ina|
|You/thee||kamu/anda/engkau/kau||amu/akam||mu-u/ingan||ku-u/kaam||(K)u'u/ ka'am||kau,||ika (sing.)/ikayu (pl.)||ikaw|
Religion & beliefs
Bidayuhs are traditionally animist, and vestiges of these beliefs still remain. The Brooke Family era saw the arrival of Christian missionaries from 1848, bringing education and modern medicine, the similar process were also taken place in Dutch Borneo in the Dutch controlled side. The great majority of Bidayuh are now Christians, majority of them being Roman Catholic.Almost 90% of the people of Bidayuh has changed their traditional name to English name since they converted to Christianity and many young indigenous Bidayuh people in Sarawak will never practice their ancestors ceremony anymore and indirectly it has weaken their culture as indigenous people of Sarawak.The original Bidayuhs are mainly Pagans or animist before they convert to Christianity and they believe in ancestral worship and they also believe in the ancient spirits or nature. Due to that, they would have big celebrations like the Gawai (June 1st ) which is a celebration to please the padi spirit for good harvest and nowadays since 60% has converted to Christianity ,they young Bidayuh generation will only celebrate Christmas as their first priority celebration.
Most Bidayuh villages have either a Roman Catholic or Anglican church or a mosque but few villages are Muslims -- rarely more than one or the village would tend to split. The Biatah people, who live in the Kuching area, are Anglican, while the people of the Bau area are Catholic.
Now some renown church also being establish in some villages such as SIB (Sidang Injil Borneo) also called as Borneo Evangelical Church, Baptist Church, Assemblies Of God church and other churches as SDA, Latter Rain.
The Bidayuh of Bau have a unique tradition of hanging the bodies of the dead on trees and leaving them to rot away. The skeletons are left on trees as a reminder of the dead. The tradition is rarely done nowadays.
Salako & Lara people issues
Although classified as "Bidayuh" by the Malaysian government, the Salako and Lara culture have little resemblance to other Bidayuh groups and their oral tradition claim different descent and migration histories. Linguistically, the Salako belong to another language family tree which is of the Malayic-Dayak family (the same family as the Iban). The Lara, although said to be more related to the Bidayuh (Jagoi-Singai), speak a language almost not mutually intelligible at all with the Bidayuh but belonged to the same language family tree which is the Land Dayak. Even their customary rituals and rites differ from the other Bidayuhs (all Bidayuhs share almost the same ritual and customary rites).
The Bidayuh have a musical heritage consisting of various types of agung ensembles - ensembles composed of large hanging, suspended or held, bossed/knobbed gongs which act as drone without any accompanying melodic instrument.
- "2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia" (in Malay and English). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Retrieved 2012-06-17. p. 108
- Language Family Tree
- Mercurio, Philip Dominguez (2006). "Traditional Music of the Southern Philippines". PnoyAndTheCity: A center for Kulintang - A home for Pasikings. Retrieved November 21, 2006.
- Matusky, Patricia. "An Introduction to the Major Instruments and Forms of Traditional Malay Music." Asian Music Vol 16. No. 2. (Spring-Summer 1985), pp. 121-182.
- Ethnologue language tree
- The Bidayuh Language: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Book on the Bidayuh language available for purchase from SIL
- Atur Simayang Mass: The Holy Eucharist in Bukar Anglican eucharistic liturgy digitized by Richard Mammana