The Burndud

Birlinbirlin Ceremony

In the Ngurra Nyujunggamu, the Marrga sat on the ground at Ganiyanha on the Birlinbirlin in the Yarndanyirranha singing the Burndud – the cycle of songs that we sing today at our Birdarra Law ceremonies every year. Their first song is Marrala Gurrbaru, the song of the butcherbird calling up the first light. They sang the Yurra (sun), Wilara (moon) Jirrdha (seeds), the Bulinyjinmarra marrga and Bragunyji (python), Mumiya, Waramurrungga, Winyyarrangu, Thurdunha and all things into being.

During the Ngurra Nyujunggamu, most of the Marrga were law-abiding, but some were Nayalyu (troublemakers) who became more and more wild as they ignored Mingkala and made up their own rules. When it was understood that the Nyalaya Marrga were incapable of following the Law, the Bulinyjinmarra Marrga ambushed the Nayalyu Marrga. They took two Nayalu brothers and put them through the Birdarra Law at Birlinbirlin. It is said that the Nayalu Marrga went on making trouble, but the Law was too strong, and so in time, they disappeared from the world, restoring equilibrium to all that had been created.

Law Time

This is the story. This is how the Marrga made the Law called Birdarra Law that Yindjibarndi people have lived by for thousands of years.