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Monday May 2, 2011

Month-long Kaamatan festivities kick off in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: An age-old Kadazandusun thanksgiving ceremony in Tamparuli town, on the way to Mount Kinabalu, marked the start of Sabah's month-long Kaamatan or harvest festival.

The magavau or rice spirit appeasement ceremony was performed by a group of bobohizan of the Dusun Lotud ethnic community at the Tamparuli hall yesterday.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman launched the festivities earlier by cutting seven ripened padi stalks and beating a gong seven times to cheers and applause from some 2,000 people who packed the Dewan Tun Hamdan.

Sway away: Some children from Tuaran performing the Sumayau dance or Dusun-Lotud traditional dance at the Kaamatan festival at Dewan Tun Hamdan in Tamparuli yesterday.

More cheers broke out when 16 contestants of the Tuaran district-level Unduk Ngadau or Harvest Queen contest took to the stage.

The crowds were also treated to performances of the various traditional dances of Sabah's diverse ethnic communities, including the sumazau of the Kadazandusun and sumayau of the Dusun Lotud.

The loudest cheers were, however, reserved for local favourite artistes such as Stacy and her brother Chaq as well as Velvet and Marsha who performed songs such as Sumandak Kinabalu.

Later, Musa accompanied by other state leaders including Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the Huguan Siou or Kadazandusun paramount leader, toured the houses of the ethnic communities from Tuaran district including Kadazandusun Kiulu, Dusun Lotud and Bajau Sama.

There, they were treated to local fare including linopod or rice and mashed yam wrapped in leaves and boiled pucuk ubi or cassava shoots.

In his speech at the launch of the festival, Musa said the yearly Kaamatan, celebrated in almost every village and district throughout this month, was an opportunity for the people to foster closer ties.

“The fact that the celebrations are well-attended shows the strong bond among the people. It is proof that unity is thriving in this state,” he added.