Kaamatan fever heats up as festival draws near


Finishing touches: Workers setting up the largest sompoton, or Kadazandusun traditional trumpet, at KDCA in Penampang.

Finishing touches: Workers setting up the largest sompoton, or Kadazandusun traditional trumpet, at KDCA in Penampang.

KOTA KINABALU: The excitement is building as the peak of the annual harvest or Kaamatan festival nears.

Various preparations, from the beautification of traditional houses to holding district harvest queen competition marathons, these are ongoing and many are already attending Kaamatan related events throughout Sabah.

By now, most of the district harvest queens have been selected to represent their areas to compete in the finale come May 30 and 31 as they vie for the Unduk Ndagau title.

It is among the most looked forward to events, with beauties from all districts and sub-districts in Sabah trying to win the hearts of judges and the public with their demure poses, knowledge of Sabah’s traditions and use of their native tongue.

An array of stalls serving local delicacies at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association centre (KDCA) were also set up earlier this month.

It is the site where the state-level Kaamatan festival has been held almost every year and workers were seen busy fixing loose nails and strengthening the structures.

They were also seen putting up ethnic-inspired decorations using palm fronts and setting up native musical instruments such as the sompoton (a trumpet-like instrument made from gourd with bamboo pipes) in the area.

At night, the KDCA will be bustling with people coming for leisure strolls, drinks and food such as the traditional hinava (lime marinated fish mixed with onions and ginger), grilled or barbequed wild boar, oysters and other delicacies.

Come May 30 and 31, traditional sports and the Unduk Ngadau competition will be the highlights for Kaamatan.

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