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Kaamatan: A platform to enhance relationships

1st June, 2017


KOTA KINABALU: The Harvest Festival is not only a celebration of thanksgiving and gratitude to the “spirit” of the paddy for a bountiful harvest but also a platform to enhance the relationships among the people of Sabah.

“Apart from a way of expressing gratitude, this festival is to be celebrated freely which also enables us to strengthen our relationships with people; it is often through this moment that we get to meet our friends,” said Kota Belud district KDCA coordinator, James Muyau.

The Kota Belud traditional house here in KDCA cultural village showcases cultural singing and dancing performances from the Dusun Tindal ethnic in Kota Belud.

“This year, visitors of our traditional house will be entertained with performances from three groups of performers coming from three different villages in the district namely Tambatuon, Bangkahak and Tambulion,” he said.

Other attractions offered include a mock Dusun wedding where visitors have the chance to don the traditional attire for the Dusun Tindal bride and groom.

The traditional costumes are made up of a combination of several layers or accessories that come with different names – Sunduk, Sinipak, Lolopot, Sulat, Binidang, Rangkit, Sinimpana, Botungkat, Tiupu and Saring for women while the men’s costume include Sigar, Rinda, Sipak, Tompiras and Bataie.

The blouse (Sinipak) is long-sleeved with each sleeves slit up until the elbows. The upper arms of the blouse are embellished with colourful embroideries while several coloured-cloths are sewn together on the inner side of the slit sleeves.

One part of the costume that is most often left behind or come unrecognized is a pair of red sash that are placed from the back up to the shoulders and cross over to the front of the Sinipak, creating a wide collar (Lolopot). Each of the layers and accessories also carries different meanings.

The Sunduk, for example, is a head covering for a woman that is to be worn during her wedding; it is a sign that she is married.

The costumes are only worn by brides during their wedding.

Besides that, they may also be worn with the means to promote the traditional identity of the Dusun Tindal. The Kota Belud Unduk Ngadau is also expected to flaunt the costume in the finals.

“This year celebration is expected to be more joyous as we have more variety here in our traditional house. However, since this year Kaamatan falls on the fasting month, we do see a slight decline in the number of visitors,” said James, a proof that this festive celebration is not only embraced by the people of Kadazan Dusun and Murut ethnic but also people of other races in Sabah.

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