“You wouldn’t want to miss this.”
That’s what everyone told me about Ka’amatan. This is one thing you shouldn’t miss if you are living in Sabah. This is the year’s most extravagant event of Sabah, happens at the end of the harvest season (end of May), lasts for a month. Ka’amatan festival started as celebrating harvest by the Kadazan community, but eventually many other indigenous groups are involved over the years. This is the time to remind their unique and rich culture to the indigenous descendent, and share their exquisite traditions to the visitors. Since I relocated myself to KK, I really couldn’t miss this hot event.
I could feel the change of the vibe near the festival. Rice-themed decorations appeared, people were more upbeat, and different organizations prepared their own celebration to the public in many other forms.
KDCA (Kadazandusun Cultural Association)
The main even was happened in KDCA. They said they were expecting about 5,000 visitors, and it looked about right. The festivity was soaring high. This is the main place to experience local folks sing, dance, eat, and play traditional games. There are no shortage on cultural performances. Along with the culture, this is a great place to enjoy local eateries. From barbecue pork to street food to traditional cuisine, you can truly feel the love of food of Malaysians right here. This is also the main stage for the highly-anticipated final round of the Unduk Ngadau (Harvest Beauty Queen) pageant. I was too busy playing (?) outside, but it was the most popular event of the whole festival for sure.
Celebrating Harvest Festival with Guinness Malaysia
Guinness is one of the imported beers that you can find in Malaysia quite easily. They even have their own Guinness brewery here. This year, GAB (Guinness Anchor Berhad) celebrates Ka’amatan with a special series of Harvest Nights held across Sabah. Harvest Nights is organized with the aim to bring together the brand and the local people during this festive season, plus as a way of thanking all their customers for their support. As any celebration, there are lots of drinks involved in Harvest Festival, but GAB wants to stress the rich culture of the indigenous people to the locals and visitors by hosting this event. There are six outlets across Sabah that are having special promotion during the celebration period.
I went to one of the Harvest Night in Kota Kinabalu, a seafood open air food court in Asia City. I ate tons of fresh seafood, drank Guinness, watched Murut’s traditional warrior dance, and even participated in the bamboo dance. Most of all, I absolutely love their traditional outfit. Where can I get some of those shirts?
In conjunction with the annual Harvest Festival celebration, the Waterfront Urban Development Sdn Bhd organized a Kaamatan Festival Celebration together with a Graffiti Art Competition on 23rd May 2014 at the Kota Kinabalu City Waterfront Boardwalk. The Graffiti Art Competition, themed “Natural Beauty of Sabah” aims to provide the opportunity to the local graffiti artists to indulge in their creative pursuit and display their work of art. The entertainment program for the day included traditional dances and music, bamboo orchestra music performance and a fire show.
There were many other celebrations other than these three. Follow the smell of rice wine, it will get you to the right place.