KOTA KINABALU: Sabah marked a “quieter” culmination of the month-long Kaamatan celebrations that reached out to the people through digital streaming.
The annual gaiety filled grounds of the Hongkod Koisaan hall in Penampang was restricted to organisers and participants.
Cultural dances and songs, among others, were streamed live as many of the Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus communities stayed home to low-key family celebrations amid the pandemic.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said although the pandemic had changed the way Kaamatan or Harvest Festival was celebrated, it remained an important platform to galvanise unity and cooperation among the people.
“With strong unity and close cooperation, it will help propel Sabah towards greater heights in line with the aspirations of the state government under the Halatuju Sabah Maju Jaya, ” he said.
Speaking at the launch of the state-level Kaamatan celebrations virtually, Hajiji said the festival was a major celebration for Sabah, particularly the native Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus communities as well other ethnic groups.
“The people must make Kaamatan, which brings the message of reconciliation and peace, as the unity pillar for Sabah and a model for racial harmony, ” he said.
Hajiji said this year’s theme “A Borderless Kaamatan for Reconciliation and Peace” was an apt reflection of the present situation.
He added that the pandemic had also changed the way Tadau Kaamatan was celebrated with programmes such as the Sugandoi (singing contest) and Unduk Ngadau (beauty pageant) held online.
‘’The festivity can still be felt albeit in a smaller scale. I was informed that the live streaming of the Kaamatan programmes on social media were well received.
“What is important is we must always be on our toes and fully comply with the standard operating procedure so that we can stop the spread of Covid-19, ” he said in his speech.
Huguan Siou (paramount leader) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan in his speech also stressed on the importance of the SOP.
Pairin, who is the Kadazandusun Murut Cultural Association president, paid tribute to the frontliners for their sacrifice as they battle the pandemic.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is organising chairman of this year’s celebrations, said although they could not celebrate Kaamatan in the usual way, the online streaming had introduced Sabah internationally and would help bring in foreign investments.
A total of 21 participants are vying for the Unduk Ngadau crown in the finals today.
The Unduk Ngadau is to honour the legend of Huminodun, a princess, who sacrificed her life during a drought to save the community.
Jeffrey said it was time for the community to take the role of the Unduk Ngadau one step further as a symbol of empowering women.