Kaamatan celebration relevant to Kadazandusun, says Pairin
The Kadazandusun Cultural Association building here yesterday was teeming with people who came to celebrate the Kaamatan festival.
As early as 9am, they arrived in colourful traditional costumes of different ethnic groups amid sounds of brass gongs.
Professional and amateur photographers took the opportunity to capture the pictures of people and activities at the event.
About 10 , or priestesses, ushered in Huguan Siou, or paramount leader of Kadazandusun communities, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan into the hall.
Pairin, who is also Sabah deputy chief minister, was representing Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman to launch the traditional sports, agricultural and cultural exhibitions, in conjunction with the two-day festival.
A sketch by Tambunan people to remind the sacrifice made by legendary Huminudon, who had offered herself to padi spirits to save the people from famine, was presented to the audience, which i n c l u d e d To h P u a n Rahimah Stephens, the wife of first Sabah chief minister Tun Fuad Stephens; Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, cabinet ministers and heads of government agencies and departments.
The crowd started to take photos and record videos with their smartphones and cameras as the finalists of Unduk Ngadau, or beauty pageant, strolled into the hall.
The contestants, who represented 44 districts and sub-districts in Sabah, donned the kebaya.
One of them will be crowned as the “Harvest Queen” today.
Despite the downpour in the afternoon, the traditional sports competitions, such as tug-of-war, arm-wrestling and padi processing, went on as planned.
Pairin and other leaders cheered on participants in the tug-of-war as they struggled to keep their balance and positions in the mud and wet grass.
Pairin said the celebration of Kaamatan remained relevant to the community.
“The traditions and customs serve as guidelines for the people to continue respecting each other and maintaining peace.
“We hope the youth will keep on celebrating the festival to ensure its continuity,” he said after launching the festival.
Earlier, Pairin delivered Musa’s speech, in which the chief minister urged the people to support the government’s effort to preserve cultural heritage.
“Peace and unity are not only taught i n schools, but also through cultural programmes.
“The government will continue to encourage and promote the rich cultural heritage in this state,” Musa said.
The event saw stalls selling delicacies. There were also traditional houses, where visitors can check out with their friends and family during the two-day public holiday in Sabah.
Dr Edwin Bosi