Introduction / History
The name Lawangan is originally from the word luang, which means hole. This meaning has lead to suggestions that the ancestors of the Lawangan people lived in caves at the foot of Luang Mountain. The Lawangan are one of the people groups in the Barito cluster which is part of the larger Dayak ethno-linguistic cluster. Dayak peoples (sometimes subdivided as either Land or Sea Dayaks) tend to live alongside the interior rivers of Kalimantan.
The Lawangan people make their living through hunting, fishing, farming, raising livestock, making handicrafts, and recently some have become traders. They also work on rubber and coffee plantations. Because the land is mountainous, the Lawangan people often have to walk several hours to reach their farming area. Generally, the worldview of the Lawangan people is connected with belief in spirits. In the same way, their arts and culture are related to these spirit beliefs. The Lawangan perform many traditional ceremonies, such as for finding a mate, marriage, pregnancy, birth, circumcision at the age of 7, medication, burial, remembrance of the dead, and religious celebrations. It is important to note that marriage is sacred to them and marriage to a close relative is forbidden.
The Lawangan are typically followers of the traditional Dayak beliefs, called Kaharingan. In addition, there are also followers of the Nyuli belief. The focus of the Nyuli teaching is that there is a resurrection after death (Suli). According to Nyuli teaching, Bukit Lumut will release the departed spirit. Such a spirit will then return to their village, bringing something from eternity that can be used to improve the condition of the world. In addition the Lawangan worship the spirits of their ancestors, which are called duwata. Every family worships its own duwata that acts as their house god. Human bones are used to call duwata. Used by permission © 2001 PJRN Indonesia
Text source: Anonymous