The Kedayan are an ethnic group residing in Brunei, Labuan, Sabah, and parts of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. They are also known as Kadayan, Kadaian or Kadyan. The Kedayan language (ISO 639-3: kxd) is the de facto national language of Brunei. It is spoken by more than 130,000 people in Brunei, 46,500 in Sabah and 37,000 in Sarawak. In Sabah they are mainly live in Sipitang, Labuan, Beaufort and Kuala Penyu. In Sarawak, Kedayans mostly reside in Lawas, Limbang, Miri and Sibuti area. Huge numbers of Kedayans do live in Bintulu especially at Nyalau and they even consist 40% of Jepak population. James Brooke recorded that the Kedayans also existed at Sematan, Lundu and Santubong Kuching.
Indigenous people in Kutai, Kalimantan (Indonesia) share more than 90% similarity with Kedayan language although they do not called themselves as Kedayan. Kedayan and Banjarese is somehow related in term of language.
The origins of Kedayans are somewhat uncertain, with some Kedayans claiming to have Javanese origins. However, most researchers consider them indigenous to Borneo, having accepted Islam and influenced by Malay culture, after the establishment of the Sultanate of Brunei. Historically, the Kedayan people have occasionally rebelled against control (taxation) by the Brunei nobles.
Kedayan are mainly padi farmers or fishermen. They have a reputation for knowledge of medicinal plants, which they grow to treat a wide range of ailments or to make tonics.
The Kedayan tend to settle inland in a cluster pattern, with houses built in the center and with fields radiating outwards. The Kedayans traditionally tended to be a rather closed community, discouraging contact with outsiders. Intermarriage among relatives was encouraged for economic and social reasons. As Kedayan do not follow Islamic inheritance laws, women are entitled to own land. If the husband dies, his property goes to the wife, but only as an administrator. She cannot sell the land without the permission of their children. When she dies, the children equally divided the property, regardless of sex or age. Sometimes the excess land is transferred free to friends or relatives if they are landless.
The Kedayan wedding ceremony is similar to that of the Bruneians Malays, with the difference that the bride is seated surrounded by candles and decorations, and the older folk will go up to her one at a time, and mark her forehead with powdered spices, similar to the Bajau practice. Aduk-Aduk is a ceremonial dance performed by the Kedayan people during holidays, especially at the end of the harvest season.