KOTA KINABALU: A seldom-seen dance of the Tatana Dusun community called Sayau took centrestage to mark the finale of the month-long Kaamatan or Harvest Festival.
Normally performed during spiritual ceremonies for healing, the Sayau was played out for the audience for about eight minutes yesterday at the Hongkod Koisaan hall in Penampang.
The dance consisted of six women performing around a sole male dancer with graceful arm movements mimicking that of an eagle in flight.
They were dressed in traditional costumes of black with gold trimming.
The Tatana Dusun is a sub-tribe of the Kadazandusun community.
The dance was among a myriad cultural performances to close the celebrations marked by the harvesting of seven padi stalks by Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.
Accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Juhar then placed the harvested padi stalks in a special container in a ceremony called Mongomotom Popoopi Paaidoid Tangkob.
Pairin is also the Huguan Siou or Kadazandusun paramount chief.
Earlier, a group of Kadazandusun bobohizan or traditional priestesses from the northern Kota Belud district headed by Amman Sirim Simbuna performed the magavau (appeasing the rice spirit) ceremony.
In his speech read out by Pairin, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the thanksgiving ceremony was a reminder to Sabahans for the peace, stability and prosperity in the state.
He said these aspects did not come by themselves but rather from the sacrifices and struggles of the people and leaders over the years.
“It is thus important for us to remain united and continue our efforts in developing Sabah further,” Musa added.
Crowds packing the Hongkod Koisaan grounds had the opportunity to sample traditional dishes such as nonsoom (pickled fish) and hinava (fish cooked in lime juice) at the various traditional ethnic houses.
Children and adults alike also had the opportunity to try a local version of the trampoline called lansaran at the Murut community house.
The highlight of the event was the crowning of this year’s Unduk Ngadau or Harvest Queen selected from 40 contestants from around the state.