Bevy of beauties: Unduk Ngadau Sherry Ann Laujang (centre), who represented Penampang, with this year’s hopefuls.
KOTA KINABALU: Forty-four beauties from all over Sabah will be vying for the Unduk Ngadau (Harvest Queen) title tomorrow.
During the event, the participants from 44 districts and sub-districts will express knowledge of their own culture using their mother tongue while posing in colourful and beautiful traditional costumes as they vie to be the next Harvest Queen.
The Unduk Ngadau contest is a much-awaited highlight of the Kaamatan festival. Native Sabahans believe that the Harvest Queen is a commemoration of the legendary Huminodun.
Huminodun was believed to have sacrificed herself to the ancient gods so that her people, who were mostly padi farmers, would have food after suffering from famine.
The selected Unduk Ngadau would also help promote Sabah, its people and diverse cultures to other parts of the world as part of her “royal duty”.
Since its inception in 1960, 57 women have been crowned Unduk Ngadau.
Yong Mee Lan @ Mui Lan from Penampang was the first Unduk Ngadau to be crowned, while more than 20 representatives from Penampang had also won the Unduk Ngadau title over the years.
Other beauties who have won are from Papar, Putatan, Tuaran, Tamparuli, Beaufort, Tanjung Aru, Inanam, Kawang, Sandakan, Bongawan, Tenom, Kiulu, the Klang Valley, Sulaman and Telupid.
The month-long Kaamatan festival, which will reach its climax today and tomorrow, has other activities which include traditional sports, exhibitions and sales of handicrafts, local performances and sales of local delicacies.
In his Harvest Festival message, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said festivals such as Kaamatan helps foster unity among the people and keep the tradition alive.
“Sabah has always been unique when it comes to how we stayed resilient over the years. We stayed true to the values that have been passed down to us.
“We remain a melting pot of culture with our diverse ethnic groups living in peace and we are proud of this heritage,” he said.