Dayak Long Ear – The tradition of lengthening ear lobe is one of the unique cultures in Kalimantan. Although not all tribes actually do this, this culture is already attached to the Dayak community in general. But unfortunately from time to time, this tradition is disappearing, and currently there are only a few Dayaks who still have long earlobes, and that is generally the older generation.

Dayak Long Ear
Dayak Long Ear

One of them is in Kampung Bena Baru, which is inhabited by around 700 residents. Kampung Bena Baru is one of the inland villages of the Dayak Kenyah tribe located on the Kelay River, Sambaliung District. Community life in this place still runs side by side with local traditions and culture, complete with traditional ceremonies and special dances. Some of the work tools and household items are handcrafted. But that does not mean that the inhabitants of this village feel alien to technological developments such as television, cell phones and other electronic devices. The village, which just opened in the 1980s, has about 20 grandmothers who have long earlobes.

The long lobe earlobes are not only for women, but also for men. The process of ear lobe lengthening began in infancy. This is generally associated with a person’s social rank in Dayak society. For the Kayan Dayak tribe, for example, long lobe ears indicate that the person comes from aristocratic circles. Meanwhile, for women, long lobe ears indicate whether she is a noble or a slave because she lost the war or is unable to pay off debts.

Among the Kayan Dayak people, earlobe lengthening usually uses a metal ballast in the form of a circular bracelet or a small top shape. With this weight, the lobe will continue to lengthen by several centimeters.

In villages located upstream of the Mahakam River, long ear lobe is used as an identity to indicate a person’s age. Once the baby is born, the tips of the ears are beaded which is quite heavy. The number of beads stuck to his ears would increase by one for each year.

But there is also an opinion that the purpose of making long ears is not to show aristocratic status, but rather to train patience. If you use it every day, your patience and ability to withstand suffering is strengthened.

Meanwhile, for the Dayak Kenyah, men and women have different rules for ear lobe length. Men are not allowed to extend their earlobes beyond their shoulders, while women are allowed to extend them to the extent of their chest. The process of lengthening the earlobe begins with the piercing of the earlobe since it was one year old. Each year, a silver earring or earring hangs over their ear. The style of silver earrings or earrings is different, which will indicate differences in status and gender. The earring style of the nobility should not be worn by ordinary people. [TimIndonesiaExploride / IndonesiaKaya]

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