The Ancient Ritual of Manyanggar

Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest, where we released Tarzan, Astrid, Monic and Tantri, is located within the sacred area of the Dayak Ngaju tribe in the province of Central Kalimantan. As part of our community development efforts, it was not only customary but also fundamental for us to ask the tribe’s permission and blessings before we conducted any activity in the area. Therefore, three days before the release, the BOSF Release Team at Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest invited the Dayak Ngaju tribe from Tumbang Tohan Village and Tumbang Naan Village – two of the nearest Dayak villages from our monitoring camp at Bukit Batikap – to conduct the Manyanggar.

Women of Tumbang Tohan were preparing the offerings and the feast

Manyanggar – also known as ruwatan bumi or mangenga lewu – is the most important ritual in Dayak Ngaju’s ancient tradition in honour or in gratitude to the Creator and residents of the universe, particularly their ancestors and other supernatural spirits believed to inhabit the forest. These spirits of the forest are highly respected because without them, all aspects of life cannot possibly run in harmony. It is for this belief that most Dayak communities are very reluctant to clear the forest or harm any of its inhabitants or even do any activity in the forest without the blessings from the spirits.

Dayak Ngaju’s ancient tradition in honour to their ancestors and other supernatural spirits of the forest

On the night of Manyanggar, the Dayak Ngaju Chief offered meat of a cow, a goat and a pig, as well as eggs, glutinous rice, cakes and wine to the spirits, while giving thanks for the fortune and safety that their people had enjoyed and chanting prayers for abundance sources of life of present and future. In relation to our release activity, the tribe prayed that the spirits of the forest would look after and provide a safe home for the orangutans.

Lively songs and dances were performed on the night of Manyanggar

The ritual ended with a great feast and lively dances and songs, joined by the BOSF team at the camp. It is now our hope that the kind spirits of the forest will indeed protect our beloved orangutans and keep them from harm.

The Dayak Ngaju tribe has now given permission and blessings to release orangutans in Bukit Batikap


6 thoughts on “The Ancient Ritual of Manyanggar

  1. orangutan dan habitatnya harus di lindungi agar kelungsungan hidup keduanya lestari dan tidak punah,oleh karena itu marilah kita bersama2 menjaga sumber daya alam yang untuk generasi kedepan lebih baik.

  2. pagi semua….
    Bisa gak foto2 yang ditampilkan untuk Manyanggar kali ini benar2 pada saat Ritual berlangsung yang dipimpin oleh pak Damang, Kepala Adat, Mantir Adat?
    atau foto2 saat karyawan BOSF sedang dimantra suci. (mamapas)
    menurut saya itu bisa lebih memberi informasi ke dunia luar tentang adat istiadat suku dayak yang kita jalani. Bukan foto2 mejeng dong

    Monterado F
    Div.Komunikasi NM

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