Thursday, May 31, 2012

Showcase of cultures at Kaamatan festival celebration

PENAMPANG: One of the best occasions to experience the way of life of the KadazanDusun Murut in Sabah is during the annual Pesta Kaamatan or Harvest Festival celebrations on May 30-31.

During the two-day event at Hongkod Koisaan here, which is the culmination of the month-long Harvest Festival celebrations, the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut people bring the Unduk Ngadaus (Harvest Queens) from their respective districts to vie for the State Unduk Ngadau title.

The celebrations attract throngs of visitors from not only Sabah but throughout the country as well as tourists.

Rosmary Ening, a 63-year-old woman trader from Keningau who takes the opportunity to sell her homemade alcoholic drinks not as ‘Lihing’ (Sosopon) and ‘tapai’, said business was good.

She said she began selling her  Lihing and Tapai at the event venue two years ago, and she enjoys being part of the celebrations as it is among the few times in a year that one gets to see the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut (KDM) people turning out in their traditional attire and performing their dances and music.

“We should always encourage our young to practise this tradition,” she said.

Mariana Ginadung, 57, has been an active participant in the event since 2010 as a cultural performer in one of the traditional houses erected at Hongkod Koisaan.

What she does is to demonstrate traditional threshing of rice for visitors. Such a practice was common until as recent as 20 years ago, but it has been replaced by machinery.

“This was how we separated the husk from the grains. But the newer generation do not know how it used to be done. It is only through such festivity that we are able to show the old practices,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mazin, a 64 year-old man from Tambunan, was there to sell his parangs (machetes) for RM38 each.

“The demand for my parangs is quite good,” he said. In Dusun, parangs are known by the term ‘Dangol’, while for the Kadazans, it is called ‘Dangoh’.

American Robert Pohman, 59, who was among visitors at Hongkod Koisaan yesterday, said the Kaamatan Festival was his favourite event in Sabah.