Kaamatan a festival for all – Jeffrey

PENAMPANG – Like any other festival in this country, the Kaamatan festival should be celebrated together by all Malaysians regardless of background and not limited to Sabahans alone, said Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

He said celebrating the annual harvest festival together could strengthen unity and solidarity among citizens of this country, in addition to creating a deep understanding of each other’s customs and cultures.

In this regard, he said various programmes had been lined up in Sabah, Sarawak and other states in the peninsula to celebrate the Kaamatan festival, including Unduk Ngadau, a traditional beauty pageant, and the Sugandoi (singing) competition.

“The month-long festival is scheduled to be launched on May 1 and will be filled with various events. The celebration will be held in the peninsula, such as in Johor on May 5, Melaka (May 6) and Klang Valley (May 13).

“The national-level celebration will be held in Sabah. Kaamatan festival is now a celebration of all Malaysians,” he told a press conference here today.

The launching ceremony of the 2023 Kaamatan Festival, to take place at Dewan Seri Sulaman, Tuaran, will be officiated by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and followed by a series of events nationwide. The climax of the celebration will be held here on May 30 and 31.

Jeffrey said the state government also welcomed the suggestion to organise the celebration abroad, such as in Australia and New Zealand, and invited those in foreign countries to celebrate the Kaamatan festival together.

To safeguard the culture and traditions of the Kaamatan festival for future generations, he said the state government plans to get seven elements of the festival inscribed with Unesco, including traditional clothes, food and music.

“We hope to be able to make Kaamatan festival a culture and tradition that is shared throughout the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey advised the public celebrating the festival always to be vigilant and practice measures to prevent infectious disease, such as wearing face masks in public areas and maintaining good hygiene. – Bernama