THE CULTURE AND CUSTOM OF THE KADAZANDUSUN ETHNIC THE DUSUN SANDAYO TRIBE: DEATH
The Dusun Sandayo community in the district of Paitan is the original Sabah people with the least number. This tribe came into being 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 to the tribal word itself which 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 work. They believe that if this prohibition is violated, then disaster will befall the family of the deceased.
The villagers helped the deceased family at the burial. Together they clean up the burial ground and dig the grave. Neighbors visit the deceased family's 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 last day of mourning, this mukas ceremony must be held to discard abstinence. The deceased family needs to prepare food to be served to the deceased and place the food on the firewood kitchen rack. The deceased family must be in the dark too throughout the ceremony from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
According to the tribe's belief, the deceased family, his relatives, and friends that came for the burial ceremony must come on the final day to discard abstinence. 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 the 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.