BERIPAT-BEREGONG CEREMONY

Long ago, there lived a beautiful girl in a little village. She was the most beautiful among the village girls. A lot of young men hoped they would be lucky enough to have a wife like her. Besides, there were many young men coming from other villages and they wanted to make friends with that fairylike girl.

As there were too many marriage proposals, the parents were hard to decide which handsome guy was the best for their daughter. They also knew that most of the suitors had good self defense techniques and inner power.

Many of them demonstrated their skills. Some were able to cut down a big tree with their palms or burned it with their inner power and others could shoot a boar with their fingers.

The parents then proposed a rattan stick contest. The contestants should hit each other with rattan sticks. One would lose if he was hit on the back by his challenger. Then what would happen if both of them got hit on their backs? In that case, the winner would be the one who got fewer strikes.

When the day came, all the young men who were ready for the contest gathered in a circular area. People from other villages also came to see what was going on.

All the heroes were dancing around while the music of gongs, drums and flutes began.

If someone shouted: “Ini die no’ri Datuk, cube pute!” (Yeah, I’m from Datuk village, please fight me!), the other man might reply: “Ehhh…. Begaye amat! Nih ku hajar baru tahu!” (Ehhhh…, proud man. Let me teach you a lesson.)

Each of them was dancing around seeking his rival. Then, both went in the ring. One of them tapped on his rival's shoulder and asked: “Kiape re?” (What about you?). Then the rival answered: “Tulai.” (It’s OK)

The contest ended in a draw because all the contestants possessed excellent self defense arts.

This is all about the story of beripat-beregong. Nowadays, people seldom perform this ceremony as it is hard to fulfill all the requirements, such as ritual offerings, a stage of 6 or 7 meters high and its ladder. It’s for the performers who play the traditional music. It should be under the guidance of a shaman to load musical instruments on the stage.

The ceremony is led by a village shaman, a referee and an assistant recording the fight. Such ceremony is performed in the evening. All the participants are dancing while the traditional music starts. If one has found his rival, they go to the shaman. The shaman will ask whether they know each other because it isn’t allowed to fight with the competitor from the same village.

Both participants take off their clothes, their left hands are wrapped with thick cloth for repulsing the rival’s attacks. They also cover their heads and ears with cloth. 

Before the ceremony begins, the shaman will explain to the participants that they aren’t allowed to hit each other’s head and lower part of the body. The strike on the rival’s back is legal. The rattan sticks of both participants should be examined and have the same length. 

The shaman rubs the sticks with magic water to prevent the participants from getting hurt if they are hit by the rattan sticks. However, they’ll feel pain at home. Soon afterwards, the two participants go into the ring and both of them receive a shower of loud applause.

All the dancers should leave the ring before the two gentlemen start the game. They stand face to face with a gentle manner (something like cowboys in a movie while they are preparing gunfire). They shake hands and say: “Kite kan Cume main-main, ndak ade dendam ape-ape.” (We’re just playing and there won’t be any grudge or hatred). The other says: “Ndak ape-apelah, sidak ngempok dulu.” (It’s OK, you strike first).

Later, the two men start hitting each other. The sound produced by the heavy strikes of rattan sticks is very scary. But both of them keep winning the applause of the audience.

The referee will stop the match after it has been taking place for quite a while. If you are not trained and capable enough, you’ll be seriously wounded.

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