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Iban Customs
.Midwife (bidan) - make
preparation for birth
.3 stages Pregnancy, Giving
birth, After birth
.In 7 months of pregnancy, the
mother and her husband have
to follow some restrictions.

Pregnancy (Restriction)
Prohibited from digging ditches in paddy
Prohibited to cut trees prevent continuous
bleeding when giving birth
Prohibited to pour oil on the mothers palm
to be put on her hair prevent the baby
born in fester condition
Prohibited to knock the eggs using knife or
stick prevent the baby from blindness
Prohibited to plant banana prevent the
babys head become bigger

Giving birth
Confinement in 30
In the confinement
period, the mother
should outline the
walls or pillar of the
house using chalk to
count the days of
The mothers
condition will be fully
recovered after the

After Giving Birth

The mother has to follow rituals called bediang or
In these rituals, the mother will sit near the bonfire
The woods used in the bonfire must be from the best
type of woods.
After the baby reached 4 days, he or she will see the
sun and taste the salt
The grandmother will bring the baby to outside of the
house to see the sun while closing the babys mouth
after the baby tasted the salt
In this time, prayer or mantra will be read to make sure
the baby will be healthy all the time.

Giving name to the child

Iban believes that they have to put a good name
to the child
Before putting the name, the child will be given
The name of the baby whose just born will be
referred from their great grandmother the
baby will inherit the good quality of the
This ceremony will be conducted in a way that
the fist of rice will be placed on the board the
names will be written on the board
Manok Tawai - A chicken will be released to

Ritual Bath
Conducted after the name of the baby is chosen
This ceremony conducted after a month the baby come
into the world make the baby to get used with the
In this ritual, two men will bring a chicken and pennants
- these two gentlemen will read the prayer/mantra and
stamp the water
Two women will follow the two men. (1 of them will
bring the shelf and the other 1 will hold the baby)
Then, the baby will be clothed on using kain pua

After all the ceremonies completed, the baby will be
taken home
The baby will be covered using pua kumbu cloth and will
be showered with bird stone energized water
purification (air rendaman batu penawar burung), gold
ring or money
The guest will be server with wine (air tuak) and foods


In Kadazan, mother will do
confinement after giving birth
Confinement duration is different
according to the cast of the mother
1. Common people 7 days
2. Standard people 21 days
3. Higher standard people 44 days

In confinement, the husband is not
allowed to be apart from the house
The mother and the baby will be given a
mystic control by the midwife the baby
will not be disturbed by the demon
Prayers will be used to outcast the demon
The place of the maternal blood will be
hung up with lime leaves

Mother - Eating hard bony fishes, spiny
fish, cold rice, or porridge
Baby Cannot be brought to the exposed
area prevent the baby from being
disturbed by an evil spirit named, Ragon
Family members - Tying the pillar of the
house using leaves called wongkong - sign
the home received a new sibling/family

Giving names Madsapi

The babys name will be given after 8 days
of birth
2 names will be given to the baby:
1. Temporary name to avoid the evil spirit
giving the name first before the family.
Ragon Gaiyoh have the power to claim
the baby
2. Real name the baby will be taken out
outside the house for the first time

Mintuhun ritual
The mother will bring her baby to step on
the ground after the baby reached a
month old
The mother brings things such as:
1. Rotan basket
2. Memadik (knife) to outcast Rogon
3. Komburongoh traditional medicine
4. Siud made up of net

Mintuhun ritual
Before stepping the ground, a straight
line will be written using charcoal from
the sole of the baby to the forehead
Some grasses that the baby had
stepped on will be brought by the
mother into the house
The grasses will be mixed with water
The water will be used to bath the





Pregnant woman will book a midwife
to help her in her pregnancy
After reached the 7 month, the
midwife will do a ritual named,
melenggang perut
The midwife will do incantation to the
mother to outcast the evil spirit to
maintain safety of the mother and the

Melenggang perut is important
to make sure the baby will be in
the exact place process of
delivery become easier
Pregnant mother cannot laugh
at animals such as monkey to
make sure the babys face and
behaviour not follow the animals

Pregnant woman cannot eat red
fish feared excessive maternal
blood to flow out from the body
when delivering the baby
Not allowed to work on dusk and
dawn feared the baby appears
weak because the babys spirit
is disturbed
Prohibited to knock the wood in
evening mother or baby will

Giving names
The name of the baby will be given
according to the name of the trees, plant,
fish, or a place which is near to the baby
Sometimes, the name given to the baby
is not suitable and make the baby fall
If this happened, the parents will sell
their baby to other people
At some point, the name of the baby will
be changed

Removing the umbilical


Usually the umbilical cord will be withdrawn

itself after a week of delivering the baby
They wrap the umbilical cord with white cloth
together with 1 or 3 black pepper seeds
The umbilical cord will be hang up above the
fire to make sure the healthiness of the baby
If the baby was sick, the umbilical cord will be
immersed into the water the baby will drink
the water
The baby will be given U.C. to be played with