Iban child in a longhouse playing with gongs. Sitting on hand made mats.
At the time I didn’t understand how lucky I really was to be a guest of this particular Iban longhouse for and event like this. I was able to be a witness of a traditional Iban wedding. Not only that, but I may have been the first American to this place (definately the first some had ever met). Also, this was the first Iban/French wedding known in Iban history.
Unfortunately, I was unaware of how lucky I was. I came with the hopes of meeting some elders who could tell me about the Iban way and how the old tradtions were potentially fading with the generations.
The pride of the Iban is not gone, the fire they have will not be put out, but to find the old ways you may be hard pressed to find this in the younger generation in a more modernized world. Though having tattoos are still common place, especially the traditional “bunga terung” tattoos on the shoulders which are markings of an Iban. But when you think about it, do I even live like my elders did? Things with time just seem to change. So if you want to find these things, now is better than later.
I had a couple of nights to experience all I could and what I found is a great people.
For those who don’t know, the Iban were once known as one of the fiercest tribes in Borneo and were also known as head hunters. A people who thrived in the jungle. Sounds intense? Its supposed to, but the Iban, when you are thier guest are full of kindness and hospitality. I will explain in more detail what I learned and my experiences in future posts. They will also feature more imagery of the experience.