Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Hongkod Koisaan impresses with new look for Kaamatan 2011

PENAMPANG: The state-level Kaamatan 2011 has received thumbs up from regular visitors following a noticeable improvement of facilities at the Hongkod Koisaan, the permanent hosting site for the annual cultural extravaganza.

Kaamatan, the harvest festival of Sabah’s biggest ethnic group – the Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM), is traditionally celebrated as a way of showing gratitude for a bountiful harvest of padi or rice.

Today, however, the Kaamatan festival is more of a celebration of culture and tradition, part of a continuous effort to preserve the colourful identity of an ethnic, and highly recognized as a tool for promoting inter-racial understanding.

And this year’s festival, according to visitor Shamsul Adzrin, is as grand as ever, only more joyous and festive with more people from all background coming to join the celebration.

“It’s more happening this year, that’s the vibe you get. You can see a number of new and upgraded structures, and more importantly there are more people and everyone is excited and happy,” said the 40-year-old from Johor.

Shamsul said he almost never missed coming to Hongkod Koisaan every Kaamatan since residing in Sabah 16 years ago, and noticed that the organizing of the event had continued to show gradual improvements over the years.

“I think this year’s improvement is quite noticeable. It is a job well done for the Kadazan Dusun Murut Cultural Association (KDCA),” he said, as unending flow of visitors continued to arrive despite the simmering hot midday temperature.

Over the years, local residents and tourists have been flocking to Hongkod Koisaan (which means the Unity Hall in the Kadazan language), for the state-level Kaamatan festival closing ceremony held every May 30 and 31.

However, this year, the organizer, KDCA, decided to go for a major revamping, offering visitors a refreshing change, both with the itinerary and facilities.

The renewal literally started at the doorstep, with visitors being greeted by the ‘KDCA Cultural Village’ arch which led them to a hanging bridge with a man-made pond underneath.


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