23 October 2010
Mitoruh- peace making
At my age I should have heard about this long time ago...but because of ignorance, mostly, I've only got to know this recently. Thankfully, a colleague who's also a neighbour at the office is investigating a lot of things with regard to the Dusun communities, and so I learn a lot from him.
Mitoruh- is a ceremony to indicate peace-making between two parties. Most people think that it only involves two warring parties during the head hunting time, about 100 years ago. In which case, two parties who had had enough of being enemies would call a truce. They would swear over some kind of animal or human sacrifice that they would no longer be enemies. Some people insist that the sacrifice must be a buffalo, and that later the buffalo meat have to be eaten, although my friend has evidence that there were cases where the sacrifice was human, obviously cannot be eaten after.
The most interesting story of mitoruh I heard was between human and rogon "jinn". A (another) friend told me that when she was 12, her Chinese grandmother bought a plot of land with the intention of farming. For some reason, nothing seemed to grow on the land. Later, the friend's Dusun grandmother saw that the reason for that was because the rogon refused to 'let go'. The only way to make the rogon relent was to have a mitoruh ceremony. They had the ceremony on that plot of land, attended by my friend's family members of all Chinese, Dusun and Bajau sides. A buffalo was slaughtered, the blood sprinkled all over the land...and then it was left on the land. Apparently, a buffalo offered to a non-human party can't be eaten for it would be 'tasteless'.
So that is mitoruh to the Dusun people...