Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Sabaheats: Guide to Kaamatan


The word Kaamatan is derived from the root word tomot, a Kadazandusun term for “harvest”. Kaamatan refers to the paddy-harvesting period, which involves a series of traditional rituals culminating finally with the Magavau and commemorative Moginakan Kaamatan (Harvest) Festival, in honor of Huminodun, the sacrificed Ponompuan — Daughter of Kinoingan (God).

The Kaamatan Festival is an annual event in the cultural life of the Kadazandusuns of Sabah. In its deepest sense, the Kaamatan Festival manifests the relationships of the Creator Gods and their creations, intra and inter creator beings, and intra and inter creations’ relationships.

It is about Kinoingan’s (God’s) love; the beauty of His creations; the emergence of sin and the curse of hell, and the conception of sacrificial love for the realization of salvation. It embodies the principal acts of invocation of divinities, appeasing, purification and restoration, socio-spiritual re-union, sharing of harvests/blessings and thanksgiving to the Source of All. It is part of a complex wholesome Momolian religious system centered on the paddy rites of passage and the life cycle of Bambarayon – the in-dwelling spirit of paddy.

The Kaamatan Festival is thus celebrated to commemorate the “Greatest Love of all”, in that: “the Creator Couple (Kinoingan & Sumundu) so loved the Kadayans and their world that they sacrificed their only Daughter Ponompuan (Huminodun) in order to save them from annihilation due severe drought and famine due to sinfulness and Godlessness.” Source: An excerpt from “The Essence of the Kaamatan (Harvest) Festival” by Dr. (H) Benedict Topin, Head of Research & Documentation, Kadazandusun Cultural Association


Bobolian Odu Miada Gumarong shared that Kaamatan has seven rites namely:

  • Mamayayat/Mogkodim Pouli Bambarayon (Inviting the rice spirit home)
  • Magahau (Magavau), Mongondut/Mongombos (Humabot) om Modsoluhut do Bambarayon (Futher   homing calls for the Bambarayon followed by search and rescue missions)
  • Mamabas (Appeasing)
  • Momodsu (Cleansing or purification)
  • Monoguli (Restoration)
  • Monumad (Feeding)
  • Moginakan Kopiobpinaian om Karayahan doid Kinoingan (Feast of reunion and thanksgiving to God)


One of Sabah’s premier events is the Sabah Fest, a prelude to the statewide Kaamatan Harvest Festival held annually on the 30th and 31st May at KDCA Cultural Unity Centre (Hongkod Koisaan), Penampang. Kaamatan is an important celebration for the Kadazandusun people as it signifies a period of rest from the harvesting season and thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest. During the festivities, Kaamatan celebrants will feast according to their needs, and are forbidden to glut and waste any served offerings.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Sabaheats: Guide to Kaamatan