Once upon a time in one village the female population is said to be dying one by one until the above decided to help or else the people there will be “extinct”.
Thus one day when one husband was very frustrated with the illness of his wife left her outside the house in an open space called “Awah” or verandah telling TOPA to take her and do whatever He likes, one female Guardian Angel was asked to take her up and initiate her to be a Priestess to save her life. She became the FIRST BIDAYUH priestess.
Ever since anyone who is sickly over a period of time failing to response to all type of treatment but more or less in semi comatose status will be determine whether an initiation process to become a Priestess or as in the case of my mother she was initiated by her parents at the age of two months plus because her two older female siblings died by the age of three months while all her older brothers survived. It was determined that the only way for any female child to survive is for her to undergo the initiation process before the age of three months.
It is sad to-day that parents allow them to die instead as they believe Christianity is closer to God design. So many have been allowed to die in a number of place.
Let us hope that the day will come when the community leaders will come to their senses not to be that cruel and will be prepared to shoulder the Bidayuh way of life as envisaged under what I term as TOPAISM. TOPA has shown us the way, why do we have to abandon it just because we do not really understand what our forefathers were doing?
Happy GAWEA season everyone. Remember to think about the tradition we are about to abandon.