Monday, 28 September 2020 | 10:08 WIB

Dayak Tribe: Elongated Earlobes Symbolizes Beauty and Patience

Dayak Tribe: Elongated Earlobes Symbolizes Beauty and Patience (wikimedia)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Borneo does have a lot of uniqueness, one of which is in the tradition of elongating the ears. The tradition is common to those of the older generation.

Yes, indeed not all Dayaks do it. However, one of the inland villages of Bena Baru Dayak Kenyah tribe located in Kelay River, Sambaliung District, Malinau District, East Kalimantan, still strongly adheres to the tradition or culture.

Although the Kenyah are a hinterland tribe, the village was opened to the public in the 1980s. There are about 20 long-eared grandmothers with an ear-lengthening process that began in infancy.

In the process, the ear is stretched using a metal ballast, in the shape of a small rings or a small spinning tops. Additional ballasts are applied each year.

Then what traditions lie behind the ears? It turns out that in ancient times, long ears were often associated with one's social status in Dayak society. For the Dayak tribe, long ears indicate that they belong to the nobility class.

For the noble woman, it was an honor to have long ears. But also as a distinction in women who become slaves, losing battle, and unable to pay debts.

"My great-grandmother has long ears, I once asked my mother whether my great-grandmother's ears got sick," she said, "there is always beauty of a Dayak woman," said Martya, a Kenyah Dayak.

Are they in pain by wearing the heavy metal ballasts on their ears?? No. The women are even proud of the culture they have.

In fact, lengthening the ear becomes a symbol of women's patience. "The longer the ears of Dayak women, then they will feel more beautiful," said one of the original students of Central Kalimantan Dayak.

The Dayak women run the tradition of prolonging the ears happily, unencumbered. But the culture of ear elongating is rarely found in the Dayak people today.