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The Dusun Sandayo community in the district of Paitan is the original Sabah people with the least number. This tribe emerged from the beginnings of the Dusun tribe in Sabah in the Nunuk Ragang area believed to have a giant tree with about 12,000 inhabitants. They believe that it is this giant tree that gives them good and bad fortunes. This tribe owes its name from the tribal word itself that is sarayo, meaning upstream, parallel to the tribe residency pattern at the river upstream.


The mourning period for a death is seven days. According to the custom of yesteryears, all relatives of the deceased are forbidden to go to the cemetery. They are only allowed to stay indoors and forbidden to do any works. They believe that if this abstention is not conformed then the deceased family will experience ill fate.

The villagers helped the deceased family in the burial. Together they clean up the burial ground and dig the grave. Neighbours visit the deceased family house. Burial can only be done a day after death to give final respect to the deceased.

The mukas (the after death) ceremony is the final respect ceremony for the deceased. On the final day of mourning this mukas ceremony needs to be held to discard any abstention. The deceased family needs to prepare food to be served for the deceased and place the food on the firewood kitchen rack. The deceased family is required to be in the dark too throughout the ceremony beginning from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

According to the tribe belief, the deceased family, his relatives and friends that came for the burial ceremony must come on the final day to discard abstention. If there were anybody who refrained then the deceased spirit would not be at peace and would look for that person.

If the deceased is a Christian, the corpse is sent to hospital first then to church for the requiem mass. The audience sings religious songs and prays for the family as well as the deceased. The corpse is buried with the feet facing the east based on their religious belief that the Christians will be resurrected after death to live again.

Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara, Sabah

Kompleks JKKN Sabah,
KM 4, Jalan Penampang,
88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Tel : 088 237052
Faks : 088 242 052


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