KOTA KINABALU: A symbolic harvesting of seven padi stalks marked the start of Sabah’s month-long Pesta Kaamatan or Harvest Festival in the interior town of Tenom.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman harvested the padi witnessed by Huguan Siou or Kadazandusun paramount leader Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the Deputy Chief Minister.
The launch of the festival was followed by a series of performances, including traditional dances such as the magunatip of the Murut community, sumazau of the Kadazandusun and magunatip of the Rungus.
Following the launch, the Kaamatan will be celebrated in kampung, town and district levels around Sabah throughout this month.
The festivities will culminate with the two-day, state-level celebrations at the Hongkod Koisaan here on May 30 and 31, with the finale being the crowning of the Unduk Ngadau or Harvest Queen.
Earlier, Musa said Kaamatan was an important event as it brings Sabahans together in a spirit of goodwill.
“Kaamatan also allows tourists to have a glimpse of Sabah’s diverse cultural heritage,” he added.
The celebrations were being held as Pairin made an appeal to Sabah’s ethnic groups to retain the Kadazandusun identity.
He said the search for new identities would only weaken Sabah’s native communities.
“We cannot go on roving and wandering on and on in search of new identities for this will only divide and confuse us as well as weaken our resolve for progress,” said Pairin, the Kadazandusun Cultural Association president.