Skip to main content

Kaamatan (Malaysian) festival

Celebrating in the Hub!

Kaamatan fun

We danced, arm wrestled, watched movies and ate delicious cakes and cookies!

See our traditional dancing

Kaamatan (Malaysian) festival

The Tadau Kaamatan (literally, ‘Day of Harvest’ in the KadazanDusun language) is an annual celebration celebrated by the KadazanDusun and Murut (KDM) people of Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo. Typically, various districts in Sabah will begin their Kaamatan preparations as early as the first of May, culminating on the 30th and 31st May at the KadazanDusun Cultural Association building in Penampang, Sabah, known by the locals to be the gathering place for the KDM community.

Kaamatan is celebrated to express gratitude for the bounty received by the people from the land. Although there are various versions to the legend behind Kaamatan, one of the most prominent tells the story of Kinoingan (God) and his wife Suminundu, with their daughter Huminodun.

As a solution to end a prolonged drought and famine that befell on her people, Huminodun offered herself to her father to be sacrificed. Her body was cut into several pieces, each of which represents a food item, such as rice. The KadazanDusun people believed that rice from Huminodun possesses a spirit, which they call “Bambarayon” or “Bambazon.”

The highlights of the festival include traditional song and dance, sports, food, and a beauty pageant called ‘Unduk Ngadau’ which essentially means, “The girl who has been bestowed with the rays of the sun”. Traditionally, Unduk Ngadau is held to commemorate the sacrifice of Huminodun, but also to ensure that her spirit and beauty lives on in young KDM girls. Finalists from each district in Sabah will compete in the finale at KDCA on 31st May.

Get involved

Would you like to organise an activity in the PG Hub?

Is there a specific event you would like us to include in this programme?

Send us your ideas and suggestions to pgcommunity at warwick dot ac dot uk or talk to a member of staff at the PG Hub.


@WarwickPgHub

Follow us on Twitter