Kedayan women. Note the light-sleeved jackets with rows of buttons.
|(Est. 240,000 in Borneo)|
|Regions with significant populations|
Sarawak (Lawas, Limbang, Miri)
Sabah (Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu, Papar)
United States: 700
|Malaysian, Bruneian and English.|
|Shafi'i Sunni Muslim|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Bruneian Malays, Other Malays and Javanese|
The Kedayan (also known as Kadayan, Kadaian or Kadyan) are an ethnic group residing in Brunei, Labuan, Sabah, and parts of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. The Kedayan language (ISO 639-3: kxd) is the de facto national language of Brunei and it bears a similarity to Brunei Malay, which is spoken by more than 130,000 people in Brunei, 46,500 in Sabah and 37,000 in Sarawak. In Sabah, the Kedayan mainly live in Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu and Papar. While in Sarawak, the Kedayans mostly reside in Lawas, Limbang, Miri and Sibuti area. The Kedayan people are also regarded as a sub-ethnic of the Klemantan Dayak people.
The origins of Kedayans are somewhat uncertain, with some of them believing that their people originated from Java, in which they came during Bolkiah's reign. Due to the Sultan's fame as a sea captain and voyager, he was well-known to the peoples of Java, Sumatra and the Philippines. It is believed when the Sultan anchored in the island of Java, he became interested with the agricultural techniques adopted there. So, the Sultan brought some of this Javanese farmers back to his country to adopt the techniques in which later they interact and inter-married with the local Bruneian Malay peoples and giving birth to the Kedayan ethnicity. Today most Kedayans are Muslims and they have accepted Islam since the Islamic era of the Sultanate of Brunei. Furthermore, they have also adopted Malay culture. The Kedayans are recognised as one of the indigenous people of Borneo, and they were experts in making traditional medicines. They also have a reputation for specialising in medicinal plants, in which they grow to treat a wide range of ailments or to make tonics.
An indigenous people's language in Kutai, Kalimantan is also said to be more than 90% similar to the Kedayan language despite that they do not refer themselves as Kedayans. Both the Kedayans and Banjarese are related to a certain extent in terms of language.
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