BEAUFORT, SABAH: Sabah's month-long Pesta Kaamatan or Harvest Festival kicked off with symbolic harvesting of padi amid chantings by Kadazandusun priestesses performing the magavau or the appeasement to the rice spirits ceremony.
Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman led the traditional ceremony at the Pak Musa community hall here.
Also present was Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is the Kadazandusun Huguan Siou or paramount leader.
Musa later beat the gong seven times to officially launch the Kaamatan festivities that will be held at various districts before ending with the two-day state level celebrations at the Hongkod Koisaan in Penampang on May 30 and 31.
Following the launching, traditional Kadazandusun Tatana priestesses from Kampung Tikuli, Beaufort performed the magavau ceremony.
Hundreds of spectators who packed the hall watched as a group of youths acted out the Kadazandusun legend of Hominodun, the daughter of the Creator God, who was sacrificed so that parts of her body could become the padi plants to make sure humans have food.
This was followed by cultural performances of Sabah's diverse ethnic groups such as the sumazau dance of the Kadazandusuns, the adai adai dance of the Brunei community, the mongigol of the Rungus and the magunatip of the Murut community.
Earlier when launching the festivities, Musa said Sabah's diverse communities must continue to practice their respective traditions as this would promote unity and harmony among the various groups.
"Our cultural wealth is also an important asset especially in our efforts to develop the state's tourism industry," he said.