AS a vital part of social development in Sabah, traditional costume play an important role in the state’s history and culture.
For the costume of the Kadazan, Dusun and Rungus, their basic features are black in colour, with colourful beads and embroidery, gold buttons and a silver belt.
These features have been preserved for hundreds of years until the traditional beauty queen, Unduk Ngadau was introduced in the 1960s, where the traditional costumes were starting to evolve.
Nowadays, however, most Sabahans wear modern clothes in their daily lives, not much different from their counterparts all around the world.
Traditional attires are only worn during certain festivals or ceremony, especially Kaamatan which is celebrated for the whole month of May, annually.
The highlight of Kaamatan is the crowning of Unduk Ngadau, which is held at the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association, Hongkod Koisaan in Penanpang on May 31.
Each year, the finalists of Unduk Ngadau will be wearing traditional costumes, as it is part of the judging criteria.
Costumes like Sinuangga’ of the Kadazan from Penampang, Sinipak of Tindal Kota Belud, Siya of Kadazan Papar, Kinaling of Kimaragang Kota Belud and Sukolob of the Rungus women in Kudat, Pitas and Banggi are often worn during the pageant.
However, last year, the committee of Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan started emphasising on the representation of the traditional costumes in each district to bring out costumes that have not been projected before, to enrich the cultural heritage of Kadazan, Dusun, Murut and Rungus communities in Sabah.
Five new costumes were showcased last year, while this year more than 10 finalists wore rarely seen costumes.
Likas representative wore the Rinagang, another costume of Dusun from Kota Belud, while the finalists from the northern part of Sabah – Pitas, Kudat, Banggi and Matunggong showcased two types of their Sukolob – clearly showing how the costume has evolved.
The contestants representing Johor and Penampang wore two versions of the Sinuangga’, Kota Marudu finalist also showcased less accessorised Kinaling to introduce how their costume looks like before.
The chairlady of Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan organising committee, Joanna Datuk Kitingan said the development showed the spirit of the finalists in promoting their heritage to a higher level.
Continue reading at: Kaamatan best platform to showcase cultural diversity of Sabah’s traditional costumes.