07 April, 2011

Mompisok, KadazanDusun Death Ritual

Hello everyone, today I would like to share our tradition mompisok the KadazanDusun death ritual. Before you read more, I would like to remind that this story is for sharing purpose only and I don't have any intention to force anyone to believe it. 

The original idea for this writing comes from my sister Just, so all the credit are hers :)

According to the KadazanDusun beliefs in a long time ago before they had follow or embrace any religion, they are practicing mompisok in a death ritual.

After burying the dead body, 6 days later which is call malam ketujuh (the seventh night) mompisok will be made by the family member. Mompisok means to turn off the light where someone will call and welcoming the dead spirit on that night.

My sister Just interview with an old lady…
Mompisok can remind people about death. Calling the dead spirit and family members will ask the spirit to take all his/her belongings during his/her was still alive. The family members also will ask the dead spirit not to disturb the family, but leave and be good where ever the dead spirit go.

The old lady asks my sister Just, “do you believe that the spirit will coming back?” Some had tell me, if you see them then you would believe it but then it is up to you whether you want to believe it or not. The old lady said, there are some people who can see or sense their presence. According to these peoples, their look does not change. Only the dead one will not lift their faces.

I myself had experience a couple of times this mompisok ceremony, once during the death of my great-grandmother (father’s side). On the seventh night, an adequate of ashes placed near the deceased’s belongings. After that, all the lights switched off and in the darkness someone will begin the ceremony by calling the spirit.

I must admit, it was very creepy and the silent also unbearable. No one dared to make a sound let alone a movement. In my mind, if I make even a slight movement the spirit will spot me, instantly jump at me and bring me to the unknown world. Haha…don’t blame me, I was only a child at that time.

When the lights went on, everyone especially the grown up quickly checked the ashes that been placed near the deceased’s belongings. Actually they want to see if the spirit had leaved evidence there. Something likes footprints, fingerprints or whatsoever. I still remember I had peeked on that ashes and yes I saw something on it. But please forgive me, I may be a child at that time still the moment is personal to me so I won’t share it here.

Mompisok usually will end with many thanks to those who had come that night. For your information, the KadazanDusun is still practice this kind of ceremony but it is more to Adat (traditions). Nothing more, nothing less I guess, since nowadays most of us already embrace a religion. In our area, we still practice the ceremony. But instead of switching the lights off on the seventh day, we replace it by a mass prayer.

So, that is a story I want to share with you about death rituals according to the KadazanDusun tradition. The ritual could be a little bit different by area including the name, here we call it moginturu but its purpose remains the same. I believe some of you especially the Sabahan familiar to this ritual. Perhaps, you can share your experience?

(pictures are from Google)


  1. macam seram jer bila dapat tahu mompisok tuh untuk aper...huh

  2. interesting. My family never practiced thisfor as long as I could remember....nanti si fado marah bilang my aunty...ehhehehe... =)

  3. Mompisok. Hmmm buat nickname untok belog pon bagos tu...!

  4. momisok bogia oi umandak okon ko mompisok!...

  5. Oh you guys use ashes? In penampang we usually use flour.. I guess there are lot of people out there wanting to know more about our culture and thanks that you came up with such great article.

  6. @ghost writer

    Time tulis entry ni pun sejuk semacam...

  7. @AngeL BeaR

    haha...memang fado marah tu tapi bukan juga kami kasi mati lampu and ikut yang dulu-dulu punya, kami gantikan dengan acara berdoa :)

  8. @Anonymous

    Mogisusuai bogia koroitan re nga miagal e ma tujuan...

  9. @Jericho

    Flour? Never heard of that but I am glad you mention it here. See...different area, different style or method.

    Anyway, I will take your words as a compliment (hehe), really appreciate that...

    Kalau bukan kita yang mau treasure the culture, siapa lagi kan..

  10. wow...

    takut baca n3 nih..seram giler......

  11. To this day some Kadus still practice this even though they have converted to Chritianity. Some may call them the "papakan" ritual. Indeed a scary ritual..

  12. entri yg agak menyeramkan dan menaikkan bulu roma..sekali dgn gambar tu lebih nampak mcm real..mompisok.........eeeeeeeeeeee

  13. we still called it mompisok... mmg seram especially when you r in the ceremony itself...

  14. ya...terus aku teringat...some of my relatives dari sebelah bapa still ada yang non-muslim ba...dorang pun ada buat ni...dulu yg aku ingat time aku kecil mungkin 7,8 tahun gitu aku pernah pg tmpat org mati with my mom...masa tu mmg ada la ritual camni...drg ckp ada budak2 x dibenarkan utk sibuk2 tgk la hehe...

  15. interesting post ni kopio... tidak pernah tapi ada juga dengar.. kalau ada sekarang mau juga saya pigi ikut..hehe

  16. @hassudi morshidi

    Itu belum join lagi the real event nie...hehe

  17. @gunsirit

    Papakan?? naaah another new name...
    Sebab adat bah kan Mr. Guns, tidak semestinya kita practise means kita ikut...

  18. @mrs.sabri

    Masa padam lampu tu langsung tak berani nak bergerak sebab takut tahap gaban...hehe

  19. @Fantastic Ajane

    Ya bah, lama sudah tidak join yang mompisok betul-betul. Mau juga experience and see my own reaction...

  20. @Nor Adzwaty Rokkafella

    Duii na, kesian juga tidak dibenarkan tengok :)

  21. Hello .. This ritual is still practiced in my mother's side,however we call it as momisok and I'm a kadazan from papar.Well I wish to see the ritual but my dad never allow us and my mother is no longer into the tradition so I only hear stories from my cousins who live in the village.

  22. I'm from Penampang and I have a page called Kadazandusun Nation in facebook. This ritual is an age old and for those who still holds KDMR traits, culture and Customary still practice this. Kadazan still believe strongly in spiritual realms. I have encounter personally and I am not making this up. This ritual is known as Momisok in Penampang-Papar. Im sure in Tambunan-Keningau are also the same.
    When i was 5-6, My grandfather died because his son (my uncle) poisoned him. It was a painful death My grandfather was from a clan of Bobohizans originating from Terawi-Bukitas. Those days, it was a thick jungle. I am 35 now. The night we performed Momisok, I can hear splashes of water from the back entrance of my grandfather(late) old house. It sounded as if someone was washing their feet, and i can hear footsteps trailing the old steps. There was another ritual performed that nite the moment we all sense a spirit is around. This is the complete form of Momisok. As the spirits is near, the bobohizan will start chanting. This is called Mogondii. Sometimes the death spirit wishes to speak but cant be heard, so the Bobohizan will offer herself to be possessed, and to my awe, my grandfather was speaking through her. Exact voice, and exact tone. I wont tell you the rest of the details, because of personal matter. But What I am sharing you, is the complete ritual of Momisok must have a Bobohizan chants the Mogondii.


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