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Dahiang or Petanda

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The Dayaks, especially the ones living in Central Kalimantan, believes that the Guard King Dahiang who lives in the 6th sky, has the task to give orders to several kinds of animals in the world to give signs to the human.

Those animals are among others :

 


 

Bird

  • Antang Bahandang or Red Eagle The way of flying and sound of Antang or eagle has specific meaning for the Dayaks, especially the red eagle.

The examples are :

If the Dayak is heading home by the boat and on their way they found an eagle who flies from right to the left of their boat, they can go back and cancel the trip since the eagle has given them the warning that in front of them there will be a danger threatening.

If the way the eagle flies from the left to the right without clapping its wings, the flying type called the eagle dances, then flies straight to upper course of a river and afterwards towards the boat they are in, it is a good sign. It means that the intention they want to achieve will yield in maximum result.

If the eagle flies from the front direction to the back part and suddenly cries and flies downward, it signifies that there is an accident occurs behind them and it might also be on its way to them.

If on the left side of the boat there is an eagle flying and suddenly from the right side appears another eagle that attacks the left one until the later falls down, it signifies that there will be a misunderstanding and a dispute while they on their way back from the trip, but the victory will be at their side.

If the appearance of the eagle is from the backside of the boat, then it flies accompanying the boat, but suddenly it cries, it signifies that the goal of the trip will be successful, however on their way back from the trip, the sadness or sickness might occur.

The way the eagle flying from the left to the right and suddenly backwards to the backside, moreover if it cries and falls down, it means to be alert. The danger will soon be coming to them. Should there be such sign, it’s better to cancel the trip for three days minimum, have a rest at home and afterwards continue the trip.

The cry of the eagle heard at night signifies the chaos will happen in the nearby village.

An eagle suddenly flies in to the house and cries; it means the house owner should be on alert since there will be a traitor creating disturbance at the house.

If during a ceremony an eagle suddenly appears and flies above the location and flies down until it almost touches the top of the house, it signifies that a bloody havoc will occur.

  • Birds of Pantis, Bakutok, Papau, and Salehei All these four types of bird have a black feather and usually the Dayaks never kill or eat them. This kind of bird is mostly found in the forest or upper part of river area and their meals are numerous kinds of caterpillars. The unity with the nature made the Dayaks’ ancestors pay attention and always observe dahiang and all nature’s signs in the roundabouts. From the movement and the sound of bird, they can differentiate the sound of bird that indicates the happiness or laugh from the sound of sadness and cry. Sometimes they saw a bird suddenly unconscious and it has certain meaning as well. If one of these birds appear in a village or fly under residential area (at that time the house is on high pole to avoid the flood and wild animal), the bird gives an unpleasant sign to the villagers. It is the same when a Dayak goes hunting into the deep jungle and the sound of Pantis bird is heard, first from the left side then from the right, pantis tujuh, it means the hunting will be a failure and a disaster will come upon them. It’s better to cancel the hunting. However, if there’s the sound of bakutok bird from the left and then from the right, it is a good sign.
  • Owl There are several kinds of owls, such as: hantuguk bird or kukut bird that makes sounds like kooook…kooook…kooook, kangkamiak bird and dan kambe bird. Big birds with cat face, big eye ball, short beak, long claws, live deep in the Kalimantan jungle and only appear at night time. These kinds of bird are extremely feared since they can prey upon human and other animals. Owls are one type of feared bird since according to local belief, these three types of birds can incarnate to be a woman. That’s why at night if the sound of the birds is heard, the Dayak is reluctant to go outside without the sawang leaf and the yellow rice. If at night, around the residential area was heard a sound of hantaguk bird or kukut bird, it signifies that one of the villagers will pass away. If the sound of hantaguk bird is heard for three nights in a row, it is the sign that a plague will strike into the village. However, if the bird perches in one of the houses, it means that one of the neighbors will pass away.
  • Kulang Kulit Bird One type of owls usually flocks in groups and appears at night. Usually if this kulang kulit bird appears, an unseen spirit will be present.
  • Kaut bird Although Kaut bird is one type of owls, but its presence is beneficial to human. If on the farm, a nest of eggs of Kaut bird was found, the farmer will feel blessed since the prosperity will be gained. That’s why an offering is put in the ancak or kalangkang or offering place is hung under the bird’s nest so the bird can feast on it. It is believed that the spirit of Kaut bird will play role and participate in taking care and guarding the growing rice.
  • Enggang or Tingang It is prohibited to eat this kind of bird since it can cause Jenis lepra basamah or leprosy. A unique thing happens if the meat of the bird - cooked in the afternoon, in the next morning the larve already comes out from the meat.

Handipe or Snake

Types of snakes that’s considered to have the capability to give signs to human are:

  • Panganen or rice field snake If a rice field snake is found inside a house or in a rice barn or in the chicken coop, it signifies that the owner will have happiness.
  • Hanjaliwan or a type of Cobra If a hanjaliwan snake enters into a house and even to the bedroom, it signifies that a person with bad intention will come and cause chaos.
  • Tanunung Snake Coming across a snake that swims from right to left, it is a bad sign; however, on the contrary, if seeing a tanunung snake and the swimming direction is from the left to right, it is a good sign. On the route there is a tanunung snake on a fight with a depung snake, it signifies a big fortune will be soon gained.
  • Depung Snake While walking deep in the forest and come across a tanunung snake on a fight with a depung snake, it is a good sign and a profit will be immediately obtained.

Bajang/Bengau or Deer

Several significations given by bajang, bengau or deer are :

  • During a boat ride, a deer is seen swimming from right side to the left, it means that the journey will not go smoothly since another person might disrupt or the traveler might get sick on the road.
  • In front of the boat, a deer crosses the river from left to right. It is a very pleasant sign since trhe intention of the travel will have a good result and be profitable.
  • At night a deer is heard menukiu or sounds loud but very short and the voice is from the left side of a house and also a branch of tree is found broken. It means that a neighbor or a resident of the house will be badly ill or even might pass away.
  • If the voice of a deer is heard from the back part of a house and followed by other deer from the front part, it signifies that an unexpected visitor from faraway will come.
  • Finding a loose deer horn on the field has a good meaning since the rice field will have an abundant harvest.

Kakupu or Butterfly

The role of kakupu or butterfly in giving signs:

  • Butterfly flies into the house and enters the bedroom. It signifies a guest from far away will come and spend the night in the house.
  • Butterfly stays on the front door, it signifies a guest from around the village will come and will not spend the night.
  • Butterfly flies into the house, it even flies to the head and hand, it means that a relative will important business will come to visit.

Asu or Dog

  • Hunting with a dog and the dog that runs suddenly stops and lowers its tail and utters the sound like ngirrrr…ngirrr (grrr…grrr), it signifies that a spirit or a human with supernatural power is around the dog.

Pusa or Cat

  • Cat menyaup or scribing its hand in its face means that there will be a guest coming.

Thanks for the translator

 



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