By RUBEN SARIO firstname.lastname@example.org
KOTA BELUD: The Kaamatan celebrations gave politicians and the crowds in Sabah a respite from the general election campaigning heat as it kicked off in a colourful ceremony.
Included in the launch of the month-long celebrations was the magavau or appeasing the bambarayon or padi spirit ceremony by a group of Kadazandusun priestesses headed by community elder Aman Sirom Simbuna.
The Unduk Ngadau or Harvest Queen pageant involving 25 contestants from around the Kota Belud district was also held, with the finals taking place at the end of May in Kota Kinabalu.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman launched the celebrations by beating a gong seven times yesterday.
He and Kadazandusun paramount chief or Huguan Siou Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan earlier harvested padi stalks to mark the launch of the festivities.
Musa also launched the proposed Usukan Bay oil and gas support centre to be undertaken by Yayasan Sabah.
The crowds continued to revel in the celebrations despite a downpour.
Taking a break from the
election heat, they put aside any political differences to enjoy the cultural extravaganza of the indigenous communities.
Musa said Kaamatan was an opportunity for Sabah's ethnic communities, such as the Kadazandusuns and Rungus, to showcase their unique cultures with the festivities being held at various districts and villages throughout May.
“This is yet another opportunity for different communities to come together to celebrate our diversity,'' he said, adding that such cultural events were possible due to Sabah's peace, security and stability.
Pairin said Kaamatan was also a time to be thankful and in this regard, the state was fortunate as the nation's leadership had made it a priority to resolve key concerns among Sabahans.
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