Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Saving last of the Kadazandusun high priestesses "Bobohizan"

PENAMPANG: She is a woman of many skills — a high priestess, a herbalist and the community’s walking encyclopaedia.

The "Bobohizan", or ritual specialist, has long played a central role in Kadazandusun ceremonies and celebrations.

Once, every village had a Bobohizan; now, they appear to be a dying breed.

There are only seven left in the Kadazandusun heartland of Sabah. They may well be the last generation as all are now in their 70s and 80s.

The importance of the Bobohizan to the Kadazandusun culture could be seen during the annual Harvest Festival or "Tadau Kaamatan", the biggest cultural celebration, which is observed by the community in May.

The Bobohizan begins the celebration by performing several aspects of the Magavau, a thanksgiving ritual.

Continue reading (incl. photo) at: Saving last of the Kadazandusun high priestesses

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