Kaa­matan cel­e­bra­tion rel­e­vant to Kadazan­dusun, says Pairin

New Straits Times - - News -

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

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