A day with the ancestors for the Mah Meri
The Mah Meri Orang Asli from Kampung Sungai Judah in Pulau Carey perform an annual ceremony at the beach to ask their ancestors for protection and good fortune.
Photographs by Ahmad Sadiq Mohamad Sani
Offerings of food are laid out on a platform ahead of the 'Puja Pantai', a thanksgiving ritual for the spirits of the sea.
The Mah Meri gather at the village hall to prepare for the ceremony.
The ritual is accompanied by traditional music played on instruments such as the drum and violin.
A shaman enters into a trance as the procession to the beach begins.
Outside, other villagers carry flags and utensils to be used during the ritual.
Together, they walk to the Pantai Tanjung beach some 2km away from their village, eager to perform this important ceremony.
Once they arrive, they wait for low tide before beginning the ritual.
At the centre of the ceremony is the mahligai, a wooden platform set in the middle of the beach where they lay out their offerings.
A child grins as the water recedes and the shamans head out to begin the ritual.
The villagers gather in the middle of the beach as the 'Puja Pantai' ceremony begins.
A shaman begins the invocation of the Mah Meri's ancestral spirits.
Another shaman dances while the villagers look on.
At the mahligai, other villagers lay out the offerings of food prepared ahead of time.
A shaman joins them, chanting to invoke more ancestral spirits.
Another shaman, in a trance, walks to a post on the beach accompanied by his assistant.
Another smears rice powder on the faces of young girls as part of the ritual.
Yellow flags wave in the breeze as the villagers continue laying out their offerings.
Once the offering is complete, the shaman prepares to descend from the mahligai.
A shaman, still in a trance, hugs a villager as the ritual comes to an end.
Mah Meri girls wearing traditional outfits and headgear smile, enjoying the sights and sounds of the day.
The ceremony ends with lunch, set out on a table near the beach.
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