Kalimaran Festival

Posted on: April 2nd, 2010 by Adrian No Comments

The Kalimaran Festival celebrated by the Murut tribes of Sabah is a festival to honor the Murut traditions. Talking to the local people, I was made to understand that Kalimaran, otherwise known as Pesta Kalimaran is akin to the Kaamatan Festival. The difference is the date it is celebrated and of course, the tribes involved. The celebration is held in the Murut Cultural Village in Tenom on 2nd to 4th April 2010, and it is a grand affair with the involvement of the entire Murut population in Tenom.

You might be surprised to hear that not many people in Kota Kinabalu and other parts of Sabah are familiar with Kalimaran. Truth be told, this was the first time I was really aware of it. The reason being this is festival was only highlighted on the Sabah festival calender recently, and is only the 8th annual Kalimaran.

The festival highlights the various sub-ethnic groups that make up the Murut population, their traditional handicrafts and their traditions, such as marriage ceremony, and other folk-lore. Handicrafts that are very popular with the native tribes of Sabah are beads, and the motifs that are found on the various costumes. Also on display are artifacts that are past down from generations, such as jars and urns which are used gifts, and weaponry of the Murut.

You will also have the opportunity to partake the local food and local brew, such as Tuak, a wine made of fermented rice, which comes in a huge jar and is drunk through a bamboo reed directly from the jar. I have had many occasions to sample the local wine and thoroughly enjoyed it. The style of drinking takes some getting used to, but the taste of that potent brew is quite pleasant.

Murut maidens from Kalimaran 2009

Murut maidens from Kalimaran 2009

Kalimaran Festival Tenom 2009

Kalimaran Festival Tenom 2009

Murut folklore

Murut folklore

The photograph above depicts the folklore of the man who turned into stone. The story was recounted by a friend of mine who attended the 2009 Kalimaran. The legend was told to him by the grandchildren of the man himself. If the stone and the legend was shown in the Kalimaran festival, it would suggest that the story is well-known and widely accepted. The size of the stone was about the size of a soccer ball.

If you are interested in local native traditions, a visit to Tenom during Kalimaran is well worth the three hour drive. It also makes for an incredible photography opportunity. You are encouraged to take photographs, and the people involved will happily pose for you. It is colorful, different and the Murut girls are beautiful.

If you miss the Kalimaran, you can catch the Kaamatan festival on 30th and 31st May 2010 in Penampang, Sabah.

All photographs contributed by Rusiban A. Currently residing in Tenom, Sabah.

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