KOTA KINABALU: The age-old Magavau (calling of paddy spirits) ritual kick-started The Kaamatan festival here on Saturday (May 1) after a symbolic paddy harvesting was performed by invited guests on stage.
The launching of this year's harvest festival was held virtually from the Hongkod Koisaan Hall at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association building (KDCA), after a year of hiatus and called for celebrants to preserve and practise unity.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who officiated at the event, said although the festival could only be launched virtually without the accompanying bazaars and exhibitions like past years, the spirit of Kaamatan was still felt.
"This year's Borderless Kaamatan for Peace and Reconciliation calls for us all to make peace with one another and to be thankful for all that we have in life," he said.
Jeffrey said with the Covid-19 pandemic still raging, everyone had a duty to celebrate and gather with SOPs in place.
"Let us all celebrate responsibly. We can still be merry and happy as long as we remember our SOPs," he said.
Many of the Kaamatan programmes such as Sugandoi (singing competition) and Unduk Ngadau (Harvest Queen) pageant will be held online this year.