Kadazan Society Sabahans Should Celebrate Kaamatan Symbolically Avoid Hosting Parties




KOTA KINABALU: Sabahans are advised to celebrate the Kaamatan festival symbolically instead of hosting parties, says the Kadazan Society of Sabah
Its secretary-general Batholomew Jingulam said although the government had allowed for the harvest festival to be celebrated on the first day with only 20 people or less, it was not advisable to do so
"Infections can happen in seconds – what more spending some time with people who are infected," he said when contacted Saturday (May 16)
"If we are not careful, this can be dangerous as many people (who are infected with Covid-19) do not show any symptoms," he said
Jingulam said this year's harvest festival was more significant for the Kadazan people as it would be the 60th anniversary of Magavau (the Kadazan Harvest festival), which was approved by the British Colonial Government as a public holiday in 1960
"But due to Covid-19, we must give priority to the safety of everyone, hence we fully support the postponement of open public celebrations this year," he said
He said it should not be a problem if Kaamatan was to be celebrated among those from within the same household, but it may become a problem others join in
"If you really want to celebrate it at this time, with Covid-19 still lingering, it is better to just have a symbolic celebration within the household," Jingulam said
Kaamatan is usually celebrated throughout May, culminating on May 30 and 31
Most natives in Sabah were farmers in the past, and Kaamatan is to give thanks for a bountiful harvest
It is normally celebrated with food and drinks as well as other forms of merry-making
A harvest queen called the Unduk Ngadau is selected every year
The Unduk Ngadau is selected to commemorate the legendary Huminodun, said to be the most beautiful maiden who sacrificed herself to save the people from famine to bring about a bountiful harvest
Huminodun was said to be the daughter of the gods Kinoingan and Sumundu and this legend is the basis of the annual month-long Kaamatan Festival
Hoever, there will not be a Unduk Ngadau chosen this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. - Star

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