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Kavalan

1. Sepaw Tu Lazing (Sea Ritual)

Worshipping Ancestral Spirits by the Seashore at the Sepaw Tu Lazing (Sea Ritual) The Kavalan people hold the Sea Ritual by the seashore at the turn from spring to summer. The exact date of the ritual varies in different communities. The Xinshe (PateRungan) community holds the Sea Ritual around March and April before the flying cod season; the Zhangyuan (Kladut) and Dafengfeng (Polo’t) communities hold the ritual around July; and the Lide (Kudis) community holds the ritual in August before the Harvest Festival. On the ritual morning, elders worship ancestral spirits by the seashore with pork hearts, pork livers, and pork fillets as offerings for the sea spirit and ancestral spirits. Young men bring the fishing gears to catch fish and shrimp on a bamboo raft. After going ashore, they will cook the pork, the fish and shrimps they caught with wild vegetables. After sharing and eating the food with people in the village, the ritual is completed.

2. Gataban (Harvest Festival)

The Gataban (Harvest Festival) is an agricultural ritual to thank the heaven, deities, and ancestral spirits for the smooth work and good yield in the year. Take the Xinshe (PateRungan) Community for example; they held the Harvest Festivals before mid-August in recent years. Before the ritual, the chiefs discuss the date, agenda, and job assignment by age class at the council meeting. During the ritual, people in the community dress up formally, and the priest dresses in black. After the ritual begins, young people and women circle around elderly people singing and dancing.

3. Palilin (Ancestral Spirit Ritual)

The ancestral spirit has a very important position in the spirit belief of the Kavalan people. The Palilin (Ancestral Spirit Ritual) is a family reunion on new year’s eve, people worship ancestral spirits and pray for a prosperous new year. The ritual falls into two styles: Kavalan and Dopuwan. They are different in contents of offerings and the ritual process. The Kavalan palilin ritual is held at the end of December on the lunar calendar. On the ritual night, after elders call the ancestral spirits, family members worship them in turn with red wine, white wine, and the rice cakes. The Dopuwan palilin ritual is comparatively more private, often held in the family home at the end of December on the lunar calendar. On the ritual morning, female elders shut the main door of the house before worshipping ancestral spirts. In addition to red wine, white wine, and glutinous rice, they also offer chicken giblets. In the ritual, elders lead the family members to pay respects to the ancestral spirits in turn and put out chicken giblets and offerings such as the stomach, liver, and heart, on the banana leaf one after another as offerings. After the ritual, they move the offerings to the beam in the living room door. Although the above two ethnic groups became one Kavalan community, as time went by, the way they perform ancestral rituals shows that they became one community through marriage. Today, their ethnic origins are still identifiable through their ritual protocols.