Celebrate Hari Moyang with the Mah Meri
The celebration remains an important event for this indigenous group in Carey Island.
FOR the Mah Meri tribe, one of the most significant celebrations observed is Hari Moyang, or Spirit’s Day. And while Carey Island – the Mah Meri’s ancestral home – in Selangor has seen rapid modernisation, the festival is still widely observed.
Today, Hari Moyang has taken on an itinerary-worthy addition for visitors to Selangor. In fact, the people of Mah Meri have even invited visitors to join in on the celebrations.
The Mah Meri Cultural Village (MMCV) will be hosting the festivities on March 17 this year.
As animists, the Mah Meri subscribes to the notion that there exists a world of spirits. And that faith forms the basis of Hari Moyang, where reverence is paid to various moyang or ancestral spirits.
It is believed that the door to this other spiritual world opens on Hari Moyang. On this day, believers may seek protection and forgiveness, exchange information, ask for better fortunes and special wishes to the inhabitants of the other world.
The MMVC lists down five villages around Carey Island that celebrate Hari Moyang.
Celebrations often commence with a ritual at sunrise when a small group of villagers gather at the jetty. They will then take boats out to the river mouth to pay respect to the spirits in the area. There they will throw rice berteh (rice popcorn) into the water.
Meanwhile, villages on the river bank will offer prayers at the spirit houses along the river.
After the ritual, the villagers will parade to the house of the spirit bearing offerings and food. Newly acquired belongings will be given a special blessing which they believe will help free them of any misfortunes.
Blessings are often given by the village headman or Tok Batin. Food offerings will then be placed on a special table to be shared with all the visitors.
During the day, traditional songs and dances will be performed, as well as a special show featuring Mask Dancers. Meanwhile, visitors are encouraged to make the Bunga Moyang as offering to the spirits on a giant symbolic Mah Meri cone.
Those interested to know more may visit www.mmcv.org.my. Online travel platform LokaLocal also provides tour options.
A Mah Meri offering prayers to her ancestors on Hari Moyang.