KOTA KINABALU – After 56 years of celebrations, an age-old ceremony to appease the rice spirits tradition continue this year starting in Tambunan, on May 1.
Themed “Peace and Unity through Culture” the month-long Kaamatan festival will be held in the various districts around the State, as usual.
Its grand closing celebration will be held at the Hongkod Koisaan hall in Penampang on May 30 to 31 with a spectacular array of culture related events including showcasing cuisines and traditional sports, among others. The highlight of the celebration will be the Unduk Ngadau Beauty Pageant where the Harvest Festival Queen is crowned.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said that this year’s festival Sabah will be the host to about 500 delegates from 35 Commonwealth countries.
“Sabahans including the people from interior should participate in the event by giving their full support and efforts, by participating in exhibitions that showcase our rich culture and history,” he told reporters at the Kaamatan Festival committee meeting at the Ministry of Infrastructure Department Building in Sembulan, here today.
Pairin who is also Tambunan Assemblyman said that the presence of the Commonwealth delegates is historical therefore there should be more unique presentations to showcase.
“This is an opportunity for Sabah especially Tambunan to be recognized by the international community. As many tourists from abroad would come so I hope the organizing committee will provide visitors with better services,” he said.
He stated that the tourism industry is a catalyst for economic growth in Sabah and this festival could be one of the means to attract more investors and industry player from foreign countries.
The Kadazandusun community is made up of some 40 sub-ethnic groups. The festival gives the general public a chance to watch the cultural activities and traditions of many of these communities, such as traditional folk games and folk dances, as well as the ornate costumes that many wear for the occasion. – By Fizah Yusof/SayangSabah