Tradition runs deep at Kaamatan fest

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman wielded a blowpipe and aimed straight at the bulls eye as a sign to officiate the 2016 state-level Kaamatan festival here.

The blowpipe signifies Sabah’s native hunting methods.

The festival will see traditional sports being played such as mipulos (arm wrestling), momolositik (catapult), rampanau (walking on stilts), terompak gergasi (running with huge wooden slippers), tumutu (paddy processing), migazat dukug (tug-of-war) and monungkava kalabau (buffalo catching using a rope).

Musa said the traditional sports served as a catalyst that could bring people together.

“We can see people from all walks of life getting to know about the traditional sports and supporting their favourite teams while contestants fight in a friendly battle,” he said.

Musa said Sabah’s diverse culture and beliefs were no hindrance to harmony in the state. “In fact, it acted as an agent of unity,” he added.

“We have more than 30 ethnic groups, and the Kaamatan (harvest) festival is one of the biggest celebrations by the natives of Sabah.

“We need to continue supporting events and celebrations such as this and to introduce it to the world,” he added.

Musa, along with his deputy Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the Huguan Siou or Kadazandusun paramount leader and other dignitaries went on to sample traditional food and visited booths after the officiating ceremony.

Earlier on, Pairin reminded the people what Kaamatan was supposed to signify. “This is a celebration close to the hearts of all the natives as according to legends, our people suffered from a famine and the situation only changed when Huminodun sacrificed herself,” he said.

According to legend, from the daughter of Kinoingan (God) and Suminondu’s body, crops of food sprouted to enable mankind to survive in a famine.

Hence at each Kaamatan, a Harvest Queen (Unduk Ngadau) is chosen to commemorate and pay tribute to Huminodun.

Throughout the event held at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) hall and compound in Penampang, visitors were treated to a range of food and beverages.

Samples of traditional drinks or alcohol such as the tinogoi or lihing (rice wine), hinava (lime-marinated fish with ginger and onion) and tuhau (wild ginger) were made available to visitors.

Traditional musical instruments and handicraft works made from bamboo, rattan and other forest plants were also exhibited and sold.