18 June 2011

Jar cleansing ritual

I learned a new thing again. As usual, from my mom, who like most moms, is a fountain of knowledge.

Mom says that in the olden days, there were a lot of rituals associated with moginakan (family gathering of sort). One of them is the jar cleansing ritual or mongibai. Interestingly, mom, who was born in 1951 had only experienced this ritual once before everybody stopped ritualizing many things.

Mongibai was a ritual performed to cleanse two types of jars, tompok and bagaton (in Bundu Tuhan) that were believed to be inhabited by spirits to make them fit for rice-wine storage. It was believed that if the ritual wasn't performed before filling the jars, the spirits would play havoc with the rice-wine, causing it to become sour. Apparently, the desired taste of tapai in the olden day was bitter (unlike nowadays when people prefer bitter-sweet taste).

At a corner of the house of the moginakan host, low walls would be erected and the jars to be cleansed would be put within the walls. All the best clothes (unused) would be taken out and draped on the walls. Then a bobolian (shaman, priestess) would start the ritual by singing a chant called tibai. Too bad mom can't remember the whole chant, but here's what she remembers:
inumon nopo'd sanganu
(if the host is the one drinking it)
misintobu kinokos
(it would be like sugar-cane)
nga inumon nopo'd sambai
(but if the guest is the one drinking it)
nga misimpaliu gintawos
misingompodu do lansat
(it would be like the bile of the langsat fruit)

and it is from the lyrics that I know bitter-tasted rice-wine was more preferred to sweet-tasted in thosed days...


Tina said...

This is interesting! I didn't know there were jar cleansing rituals. I knew the Dusun in my kampung liked their tapai a little bitter, though. I hated it when the older folks made us kids take sips of the tapai.

Verone said...

Tina- it is interesting, isn't? Every time I spend time with my mom, I always find out something new. Maybe different kampung, different rituals?

Gunaqz said...

Hi Verone,
...nga misimpaliu gintawos (xxx) --> LOL

TataJane said...

Mummy Said : Minsimpaliu gintawos means - Minsimpaliu-> xtentu arah , Gintawos -> terhuyung hayang. (tu tapai telampau bisa) heheh