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What Exactly Is Pesta Kaamatan?

A celebration where a legendary tale resides in the harvest festival.


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What Exactly Is Pesta Kaamatan?

Kotobian Tadau Tagazo Do Kaamatan


Get in the mood for celebration with our fellow Sabahans! We Malaysians are quite familiar with ‘Pesta Kaamatan’ known as a harvest festival celebrated in Sabah although there is always a group of us who stare at the calendar every year wondering or assuming what it is all about…LOL!
 
Kaamatan is going to be very different this year since the whole country is adapting to the state of new normal due to the impact of COVID-19. However, let’s agree we Malaysians know how to keep the spirits up, am I right? Check out HITZ Sabah’s lit Kaamatan music video on Facebook and Instagram.



This unique tradition that is found in East Malaysia is mainly celebrated by the ethnic Kadazan-Dusuns and also other ethnics in the state. Being in Peninsular Malaysia, we may not realise or experience the joy of this festival that is really huge in the East. So, what could be more than the abundance of harvest? Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon.

via GIPHY


Alright guys, don’t freak out ok! 
 


Source: Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA)

Pesta Kaamatan goes back during a time when most of Sabah’s tribes held animistic beliefs where a legendary tale tells us that their god, Kinoingan, sacrificed his daughter, Huminodun, by cutting her to pieces and spread it across the field which then produced a fruitful harvest of the paddy.
 
So, the people of Sabah today celebrate the sacrifice made for them in order to produce an abundance of harvest. But wait…there’s more that goes on during this festival.


 

Source: Borneo Today
 

Every year, young ladies participate in a beauty pageant called ‘Uduk Ngadau’. Even though it seems like a competition for who has the prettiest face, it also carries meaning behind it. This beauty pageant signifies the sacrifice made by Huminodun for the Kadazan-Dusun community.
 


It was a little disappointing for the people when it was announced to be cancelled by the KDCA. Well, you know Malaysians...they don’t simply let you off the hook. An online petition was signed which may consider the beauty pageant to be postponed rather than cancelled.
 
Now, we are gonna move on to the feasting of FOOOOODDD!
 



 








There can’t be a great celebration without food, right? You can find some extraordinary traditional food during this festival like the ones above, and these are just a few that you can find! On the top is a dish called Hinava (raw fish marinated in lime). Finally, Lihing (home-brewed rice wine). The star of the day.




Pesta Kaamatan is filled with a variety of events such as the ‘Tarian Sumazau’, ‘Magavau’ ceremony and so much more. This video is just a hint of the wonder and amazing cultural experience we could possibly imagine. I’m sure it’s waaayyyyy better to experience than just to hear it being described!
 
As enormous and memorable this harvest festival may be, things did take a twist this year by limiting the festivity indoors than the usual community gatherings. Well, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
 
On a side note, check out this funny video on Malaysian ‘Kiasu’ness. Trust me, it applies almost at all times in Malaysia.

 

 


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