KOTA MARUDU -- Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan cut seven stalks of padi and then pounded rice seven times with a wooden pestle to symbolically launch the month-long celebration of Kaamatan or Harvest Festival.
Pairin represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman at the colourful event.
Also present were Minister in the Prime Minister's Department and Bandau MP Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili and state Industrial Development Minister Datuk Ewon Ebin.
More than 10,000 people turned up for the ceremony to appease the "bambarayon" or rice spirits performed by more than 20 "boboliyan" (priestesses) led by Maugirus Lomidang, 62.
Model houses of ethnic groups in Kota Marudu were built to show visitors the local culture and way of life.
In conjunction with the festival, traditional games and competitions like the "sugandai Kaamatan" singing contest and "Unduk Ngadau" or beauty pageant were held.