Sabah all set for Kaamatan climax

Highlight of festival: The 50 beauties hoping to be crowned the state-level Unduk Ngadau this year.

KOTA KINABALU: Thousands are expected to attend Sabah’s colourful Kaamatan or Harvest Festival celebration tomorrow to witness the crowning of the state-level Unduk Ngadau this year.

Launched in Tuaran district on May 1 with each district holding its own activities, the month-long celebration will shift into full gear when it culminates today and tomorrow.

Celebrated by the ethnic Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus (KDMR) communities in Sabah, Kaamatan will see locals and foreign tourists being treated to an explosion of culture.

This year’s theme “Kaamatan Membudayakan Perpaduan” (Kaamatan Enculturates Unity) conveys the message of Sabah being a melting pot of culture, diverse races and religions which is not a hindrance to unity.

The closing of the state-level festivities will be held at the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association’s (KDCA) Hongkod Koisaan hall in Penampang, the traditional venue for the celebration.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is expected to attend the official closing ceremony tomorrow.

The festivities at KDCA will be a colourful sight as Sabahans from the various ethnic communities show up in their full regalia to welcome Kaamatan, which is a thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.

One of the highly anticipated events is the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan cultural beauty pageant.

The traditional event, which was first held 63 years ago, is the highlight of the month-long celebration.

Some 50 hopeful Sabahan lasses are vying for the prestigious crown of Unduk Ngadau or Harvest Queen.

The Unduk Ngadau pageant is held to commemorate the legend of the kind and beautiful Huminodun, the daughter of Kadazandusun gods Kinoingan and Sumundu.

She is said to have sacrificed her life to save the people from famine.

Today, the Unduk Ngadau remains a symbol of beauty which portrays the attributes of a true Sabahan woman.

Besides the pageant, there will also be traditional dances and performances during the two-day event.

Also adding to the festivities is a traditional carnival featuring a host of traditional games and competitions such as mipulos (arm wrestling), rampanau (walking on bamboo stilts) and momolastik (catapult).

There will also be a Kaamatan bazaar which offers visitors a taste of local cuisine, including traditional alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and other attractions.

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