Kaamatan Festival

Fun and games, and food, at the Kaamatan Festival
Sabah's Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman (third right) pulling hard for the Migayat Lukug games (Tug of War) with Datuk Dr. Maximus Ongkili (second left) Green Technology and Water Minister, Sabah State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Salleh Tun Said (far left) and other leaders.

By Fizah Yusof
Pictures by Oliver Majaham

The Kadazandusun community is made up of some 40 sub-ethnic groups. The festival gives the wider 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.

People from all walks of life are excited to participate in the folk games like the Mipulos (Arm Wrestling), Mipadsa (Knuckle wrestling), Monopuk (blow piping), Momolostik (catapulting) and Migayat Lukug (Tug of War).

Other attractions on display are the traditional houses where there are more cultural dances, food and games. The traditional houses on display are houses of the various groups, namely the Penampang Kadazan, the Ranau Liwan, Papar Kadazan, the Tindal community from Kota Belud, the Tatana from Kuala Penyu, Kwijau of the Keningau region, the Tuaran Lotud, the Tuhawon from Tambunan, the Binatang Rungus  Long House from the Kudat area, the Murut Lansaran House and the Bisaya House of the Bisaya community from Beaufort.

A bit of Murut Kalimaran at the Hongkod Cultural Village

One of the KDM community houses at Hongkod Koisan is the Murut House that houses the Lansaran. The Lansaran is a bouncy ‘dance floor’ affair, a bamboo and rattan platform laced together to provide a trampoline-like bounce when people jump on it. Occupying the center of the Murut long house the Lansaran can usually take 20 people, some as many as 40.
Chief Minister of Sabah, Musa Aman at the Murut Lansaran house trying out the Lansaran with Dr. Maximus Ongkili, Green Technology and Water Minister

The main feature of the Lansaran is not the bouncy floor but the collection of ‘Singkowoton’ that dangles high above the lansaran. In the old headhunting days the Singkowoton were the enemy skulls that had been collected as war trophies. Nowadays, the 'singkowoton' are less gruesome, being simply a carved hornbill beak, a pouch containing money or some other prize items that the jumpers try their best to wrest from the perch. .

The Lansaran is the central feature of the Murut Cultural Building in Tenom where the Murut community celebrate their annual kalimaran festival.

The public having fun playing the traditional games of the Kadazandusun games.

Pulling hard – Barracuda team in the tug of war (Migayat Lukug) contest.

Some well-known KadazanDusun cuisines

At the festival, one can also find a variety of ethnic food such as Linongot (sweet potatoes and rice wrap in Tarap leaf), Ombuyat (made from tapioca), Hinava (a Kadazan dish made from mashed raw fish – usually tengiri - mixed with ginger, garlic, lime and other spices), Kelupis(glutinous rice wrapped in Palas or Silas leaves), Tuhau (a Tambunan condiment made from wild ginger mixed with vinegar, garlic and chilli), Sambal Mangga (a condiment made from sour mango mixed with soy sauce and chili).
The introduction of the Kadazandusun Murut beauty contestants before the final Unduk Ngadau competition.

The highlight of the celebration is the Unduk Ngadau Beauty Pageant which selects the Harvest Festival Queen. Some 40 Kadazandusun Murut beauties from various districts will compete for the title. One of the requirements is that the contestants should possess, or are assumed to possess, beauty qualities resembling the legendary Huminodun. 

The Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin will close the state-level celebration today. – Insight Sabah

Posted on May 31, 2013

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