The Orang Sungai ethnic in Pitas in Sabah Kudat Division still practices a custom related to birth called Adat Bertimbang, literally translated as the Custom of Weighing A Baby.
This ethnic believes that giving birth in the Islamic month of Safar needs to be avoided as it is believed that this month is heaty. If a birth does happen then the bertimbang (weighing a babyweight) ceremony needs to be held. The items needed are a galu (rice pounder), two sewn sarongs, two unsewn sarongs, a young shaved coconut, young coconut leaves, firewood and rice.
To make a weighing scale the galu is hung horizontally using rope. The firewood, rice and coconut are hung at one end of the galu while the baby is placed inside the sarong and it is hung at another end of the galu. Balance is achieved when the items hung equal to the baby weight. Then the galu is turned once to the right.
Praises to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the berzanji (religious songs) accompany the ceremony. Then the barber and family members hold hands together swaying the young coconut leaves, woven into the shapes of bird and flower, onto the baby. This action is to dispel creatures that might disturb the baby. After the ceremony all the items including alms are given to the religious leader that leads the ceremony.
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