Jerunai is actually one of the historical symbols of the Melanau community. In fact, Jerunai was used as the burial place of the Melanau nobles in the past but it is no longer practiced today. This is because today’s society is more civilized than ancient society. Many people in the Melanau community have fallen victim to the construction of this Jerunai. But this unique story about Jerunai has attracted the interest of many researchers to know more about it.
According to stories told by the residents of Kampung Tellian Mukah, the use of Jerunai was finally eliminated when religious beliefs and also teachings began to take root in Mukah. Other than that, it is also because of the currents of modernity. In Mukah, there are still traces of Jerunai’s history that continue to stand strong in the area of Kampung Tellian Tengah, Mukah. Some of them are worn out with time because they are exposed to rain and scorching sun.
@locco.myKubur yang berusia ratusan tahun. ☠️ #sarawak #sejarah #melanau♬ Sounds like a mystery music box – Yohei
Jerunai is a coffin made for the Melanau nobility. In the town of Dalat, located about 40 kilometers from the city of Mukah, Jerunai can be seen perched in the middle of Taman Poket. Jerunai has a shape of a round pole and is made of belian wood to be durable. The trunk of Jerunai is carved with various motifs and it is usually built on the banks of the river. To accompany the spirits of the dead Melanau nobles, a girl from the slave class will be sacrificed. For the sacrificial ceremony, the chosen girl was tied up on top of Jerunai without food and also drink. They believe that when the girl dies of starvation, her spirit will take care of the master, the nobles who are buried in the Jerunai pit.
According to history, the bodies of the Melanau nobility were not buried in the ground before the advent of Islam hundreds of years ago. Instead, their corpses are kept in coffins until they decompose naturally leaving bones. Then, the bones of the deceased were moved into a hole in the middle of the Jerunai which was about 10 meters high.
Sources: TikTok LOCCO.