KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said Sabah’s annual Kaamatan festival is not just about the Unduk Ngadau pageant.
He said much of the rich cultural heritage of the KadazandusunMurut was celebrated during month-long festivities and the pageant was just one part of the many programmes and activities showcased during the celebration.
Musa said many people assumed the Unduk Ngadau, or harvest queen contest was the main reason why the festival was introduced.
“I disagree when some say the Kaamatan festival only focused on the Unduk Ngadau pageant. There are many other aspects of the KDM culture highlighted during this celebration such as its historical significance, the music, the dances, the costumes and the cuisines,” he said during the closing ceremony of the state-level Kaamatan Festival at KDCA on Sunday.
Nevertheless, he said there was nothing wrong in highlighting the Unduk Ngadau contest as the contestants were not only attractive but multi-talented.
“The Unduk Ngadau pageant is part and parcel of the Kaamatan celebration,” he said while adding that not having it could be likened to ‘Sebuah taman, tidak akan berseri tanpa bunganya’ (A garden will not be beautiful without flowers).
He said the contest was among the many traditions that was unique and special to Sabah.
Apparently, there were inquiries not only from Malaysians but from foreigners about the significance of the Kaamatan festival including what the Unduk Ngadau was about and why the contest had evolved from a cultural event into something that was commercialised to the extent that even the traditional costumes were modified for “creative purposes”.
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