Gawai Dayak is an annual harvest festival that is celebrated by the Dayak in Sarawak and West Kalimantan, Borneo on 31 May and 1 June. It is a public holiday in Sarawak and is a social occasion recognized since 1957. The term "Gawai" means "festival", and "Dayak" describes the indigenous peoples of Sarawak and interior of Borneo.
Historically, Gawai Dayak was the concept of the radio producers Tan Kingsley and Owen Liang taken up by the Dayak community in 1957. They called it Sarawak Day for the inclusion of all Sarawakians as a national day, regardless of ethnic origin. It is a thanksgiving day marking a bountiful harvest and a time to plan for the new farming season or other endeavours ahead.
The holiday was first celebrated on 1 June 1965 and is an integral part of Dayak social life, symbolizing unity, and aspiration for the Dayak community, a thanksgiving day marking a bountiful harvest and a time to plan for the new farming season or other endeavours ahead. Tuak is common served.