KOTA KINABALU: Sabah marked a “quieter” culmination of the month-long Kaamatan celebrations which reached out to the people through digital streaming.
The annual gaiety filled grounds of the Hongkod Koissan hall in Penampang was restricted to organisers and participants as cultural dances and songs among other pageantry was streamed live.
Many of the Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus communities stayed home to low-key family celebrations amid the Covid-19 pandemic concerns.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said that the pandemic had changed the way Kaamatan or harvest festival was celebrated but it remains an important platform to galvanise unity and cooperation among the people of the state.
“With strong unity and close cooperation it will help propel Sabah towards greater heights in line with the aspiration of the state government under the Halatuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ),” he said.
Speaking at the launch of the state-level Kaamatan celebration at Hongkod Koisaan, KDCA via online streaming here Sunday (May 30), Hajiji said the Kaamatan festival is a major celebration for Sabah particularly the native Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus communities as well other ethnic groups.
“The people must make Kaamatan, which brings the message of reconciliation and peace, as the unity pillar for Sabah, which has always been a model for racial harmony in Malaysia,” he said, adding that this year’s celebration – “A Borderless Kaamatan for Reconciliation and Peace” – was apt since it really reflects the present situation.
Hajiji said the pandemic had also changed the way Tadau Kaamatan was celebrated with programmes such as the Sugandoi (singing contest) and Unduk Ngadau (beauty pageant) being held online this year.
The festivity can still be felt albeit on a smaller scale.I was informed that the live streaming of the Kaamatan programmes in social media have received a very encouraging response,” he said.
“What is important is that we must always be on our toes and fully comply with the standard operating procedures (SOP) so that we can stop the spread of Covid-19,” he said in his speech.
Huhuan Siou (paramount leader) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan in his speech to mark this year’s celebrations reminded people to follow the SOPs to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 in the state.
Pairin, who is the Kadazandusun Murut Cultural Association (KDCA) president, also paid tribute to all frontliners sacrificing and risking their lives in ensuring the people of the state remained safe from the pandemic that continues to spread across the globe for over a year.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is organising chairman of this year’s celebrations, said though they could not celebrate Kaamatan in the usual way, the online streaming of the celebrations introduced Sabah internationally would help in bringing foreign investments.
Today (Sunday) marks the first day of the end of the two-day culmination of the month-long Kaamatan celebrations which is highlighted with the crowning of the Unduk Ngadau (Harvest Queen) on the second day Monday (May 31).
The Unduk Ngadau is to honour the legend of Huminodun, a princess, who sacrificed her life during a drought to save the community.
Jeffrey said that it was time for the community to take the role of the Unduk Ngadau one step further as a symbol of empowering women.