Kaamatan – The Biggest Event In Sabah For May
Kaamatan, the Harvest Festival is the largest festival for the Kadazans, Dusuns and other ethnic tribes of Sabah. Held on the 30th and 31st of May every year, it marks the coming together of the tribes of Borneo in celebration.
It is an event that is has its roots in tradition and beliefs of native people of Sabah, and plays an important role in the celebration of local cultures. It is celebrations like these that draws all the races of Sabah together, and serves as a useful reminder of the rich cultural experience we have.
Celebration Of Life And Harmony
The native people of Sabah lives in harmony with tradition, nature and other races of Sabah. They make you feel so welcomed when you join in their celebrations, and are one of the friendliest of people in the world.
It is very much an Open House, which means that anyone can enter into their homes and be made welcomed. You are treated as an honored guests and are encouraged to experience the way they live.
Handcrafted bronze gongs are called Tagung, and is typically used to perform melodic music during joyous ceremonies and occasions. The Kadazan dance, Sumazou is also performed to the accompaniment of the tagung. The Sumazau is the name of the dance performed by male and female pairs.
The various ethnic groups that celebrate include the Kadazans, Dusuns, Rungus and other sub-ethnic tribes of Borneo. In KDCA, Penampang where the festival is held, you can visit all the ethnic groups at their respective houses. The style of house construction varies, as does the motifs and designs of their native costumes.
This is an incredible to photograph authentic Borneo tribal costumes and people. You will find many professional and amateur photographers among the visitors. All the participants will happily pose for photographs and chat with visitors.
You will also get to see many of the tools and equipment used in the old days, as well as demonstrations of how it is made. Many of the local handicrafts, such as woven baskets are still in common use today. Often found in market places or tamu around Kota Kinabalu, and villages.
The Kadazan Priestress – Bobohizan
The priestress or ritual specialist called a Bobohizan or Bobolian plays an intricate part in Kaamatan and all important occasions. They are keepers of the folklore, and will lead the purification rituals of their people. Women form the vast majority of those who play an important part in rituals and worship.
Getting To The Kaamatan Festival
The Kaamatan festival is held at the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association in Penampang, about 5km outside of Kota Kinabalu city. Commonly called KDCA, and sometimes referred to as Hongkod Koisaan.
The festival is held on the 30th and 31st of May every year, at this venue. It starts in the early morning and continues right through the night. The ethnic beauty pageant, Unduk Ngadau is held on the 31st May. Entrance is free.
The best way to go to KDCA is by taxi, which will cost RM20 from Kota Kinabalu. Make sure you get the taxi driver’s handphone, then you can call him when you want a ride back.
Photo source: All photos, www.aboutsabah.com
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Tags: Festival, Kaamatan, KDCA