Piring & Miring
1. Basic ingredient for common piring.
- Tobacco & wrapper (daun apong)·
- Betel nut set (pinang, sirih, kapu, gambir)
- Cooked rice
- Sweet rice (Asi manis)
- Ketupat (glutinous rice packet cooked in palm leaves)
- Glutinous rice – asi pulut (white, red, yellow & black colored glutinous rice cooked in a bamboo)
- Rice cake – penganan iri
- Rice flour and coconut powder – Sagun
- Banana fruit (pisang)
- Beras kuning
- Letup or Rendai (puffed rice or pop rice)
- Eggs – Telu manok
- Telaga – a small cup contains rice wine (tuak)
- Bulu manok: a feather of a fowl used during prayer (sampi) is plucked out and dipped in its blood when it is killed.
Piring For Gawai Burong in honour of Sengalang Burong:
- Pisang Jait (wild banana fruit),
- Engkudu & trong fruits,
- Lengki palm leaves & its shoot,
- Banjang palm leaves & its shoot,
- Batak shoots, flowers of buot, tepus, engkenyang and others planted on the padi field,
- Smoked gerama crabs, kusing bats and fish with white scales.
- Cook white, yellow and black glutinous rice
- Fry penganan iri buns
- Cook sungkui cake
- Cook hard-boiled eggs
- Cook ketupat rice
- Fry popped rice (letup) and sago flour.
2. Generally the purpose of making offerings are:
- To give honor to Gods (Petara), Holy spirit (Orang Panggau & Bunsu Antu) and souls of our dead ancestors (Petara Aki-Ini) whom we invited to our various festivals.
- To give thanks to Gods for their blessing and help.
- To seek blessing, good fortune, good health, happiness, peace and harmony.
- To make a wish (niat).
- Seeking success in ventures (trading, headhunting, bejalai etc.)
- Seeking forgiveness and protection from supernatural repercussion for human sins (incest, illegitimate pregnancy, wrong doings, bad dreams, bad omen, etc).
3. For who and when to make offering to?
- Sengalang Burong – when preparing for war or major event like participating in election. Gawai Burong is usually held to honor him and to seek his blessing (Gawai Burong).
- Raja Simpulang Gana – when dealing with farming related activities. (Gawai Umai and related gawai)
- Raja Menjaya & Ini Inda – when asking for better health. (Gawai sakit & related activities e.g. bemanang).
- Anda Mara – seeking good fortune and material wealth. (Gawai Pangkong Tiang)
- Selampandai – when you seek blessing in your marriage, children growth or fertility. (During Gawai Melah Pinang)
- Raja Semarugah – when seeking permission to use land for construction and other activities like agricultural activities. (when erecting the first pole).
- Keling and orang Panggau – when seeking their help to go to war, election, defence from enemies, or when seeking their help to invite Gods to our festivals.
- Bunsu Antu – as and when instructed in dreams.
- Souls of our dead ancestors – when seeking their blessing and showing respect for their soul. Usually during gawai dayak and when visiting their graves.
4. Procedures of Miring.
- Prepare the piring ingredients (refer details in my weblog).
- Bless those ingredients (biau piring as in my weblog).
- Divide those ingredients into 3, 5, 7 or 9 plates (depending on who you want to invite or seek blessing from).
- Recite your Sampi or prayer.
- Place your piring in your living room (bilik), ruai (internal varendah), panggau (gallery), tanju (open air varendah), farm (during various stages of farming cycle), river bank (during baptism of your child) depending on the occasion. If it is placed at your home, cover it with pua kumbu. Leave it there for 3 nights or more, depending on the occasion.
- If the God give favorable response in your dreams, give thanksgiving offering later.
Note: For those who are sinners (thieves, adulterer, murderer, committed incest, rape, etc) who have done wrong to living things (human, animals, insects, birds, etc) are not allowed to touch the Piring. The Gods or holy spirits considers their hands dirty. They must seek forgiveness first (in a private cleansing miring ceremony), declared their sin to God, before being accepted to join in the miring ceremony. Normally, those people are courteously avoided from participating in a miring if their reputation is being suspected.
If Miring is done during major festivals, dedicated people are used to prepare and bless your piring. e.g. the tukang nasak. They are usually a team of warriors who are tasked to prepare and bless the piring during Gawai Burong (refer to my web log on the subject of Gawai Burong). It is said that these warriors’ hands have been cleansed with the blood of their enemies and they are the best people to perform miring ceremony in any major festivals. That is also why we place high values for those warriors in Iban society even if they are beggers or having no social status. They are respected because they are closer to Gods and Holy spirits who protected them in their venture.
Note also that different region have different methods, procedures or styles. What I mentioned here is largely as practiced by Saribas and Kalaka Ibans for a simple or basic rituals.
By Gregory Nyanggau Mawar