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Kavalan wizard of Taiwan’s Hualien County dies at age 94

Ibay

Ibay (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan has lost yet another of the country’s rare tribal wizards when Ibay died on Thursday morning at the age of 94.

Ibay, a female wizard of the Kavalan Tribe, who resided in Xinshe Village of Hualien County’s Fengbin Township, had stayed healthy until her sudden death on Thursday, according to a Liberty Times report.

The report cited tribal documentary director Bauki Angaw as saying that, after first worshipping the wizard according to traditional Kavalan ceremonies, Ibay’s family was considering using traditional rituals to hold a funeral for her, with no date having yet been set.

Ibay possessed the craft of weaving banana stem fiber, and worked as a senior teacher at Lalaban Xinshe Banana Fiber Workshop for a long time, Bauki Angaw said, adding that she was an important inheritor of traditional Kavalan culture and wisdom.

When she was 14 years old, Ibay was picked by her grandmother to serve as a wizard to pray for blessing, ward off calamities, and cure diseases for their tribal people.

Being a Catholic believer and a tribal wizard at the same time, Ibay seemed to have no qualms about navigating between these two seemingly contradictory beliefs. On Oct. 6, Ibay came to the Sakur village in Hualien City to participate in a ceremony to worship the fire god and their ancestors, Liberty Times reported.