The Guide To Kaamatan

Pack Your Sunscreens and Umbrellas!

The weather in Sabah around the month of May can be quite unpredictable and do expect scorching hot sun as well as heavy rain! Do not be fooled by the weather and make sure that you came prepared. There will be a lot of grounds to cover and you need to walk around visiting the interesting booths so make sure you are dressed comfortably as well. Make sure to put on sunscreens to ensure UV protection so that you can roam the KDCA vicinity without any worries. Don’t forget to bring your umbrellas along with you, it is good for hot and rainy weather and it is best to always be prepared!


Get Cultured

Kaamatan or Harvest Festival is uniquely a Sabahan celebration that you can’t find anywhere else in Malaysia. There might be other harvest festivals but in Sabah, the celebration is full of history and along with it are the entertainment, traditional foods, and local Sabahan culture. You can enjoy the traditional dances and costumes of a few Sabahan ethnic groups at their ‘houses’ (traditional houses of the ethnic groups from certain locations in Sabah) located inside the KDCA (location of the Kaamatan Festival). You will be entertained by how locals celebrated their harvest and the history behind it. Open your mind to a colourful history of the Kadazans and the Dusuns, enjoy your food with Muruts, and dance along to the sound of the kulintangan (traditional instrument)!


Unduk Ngadau

This is a pageant competition that is the highlight of Kaamatan, a vast majority of the locals enjoyed this part of Kaamatan the most. But Unduk Ngadau is not just like any other ordinary pageant competition, it has a deep meaning of history and folklore behind it that involved the Kadazan’s belief in the willingness of God (Kinoingan) in letting her daughter Huminodun sacrifice herself to feed the poor, starving people of Earth. Through Huminodun’s sacrifice, her body parts turned into various edible vegetables and fruits to help feed the people.  Unduk Ngadau is to remember and honour her sacrifice and to search for the spirit of Huminodun amongst the local Sabahan girls. Her spirit of beauty, intelligence, and kindness. It is definitely something to not be missed especially if it is your first time attending the festival.


Enjoy The Food

There would be food stalls at KDCA starting on 1st May until the last day of the month and you have a wide array of choices to indulge in. This is your opportunity to try local delicacies from all over Sabah and even some traditional foods like Butod, Hinava, and Ambuyat! The names may be alarming to you just because it sounded different but fret not it is absolutely scrumptious and it will be a totally new experience for your pallet.


Drink Responsibly

Last but not least, remember to drink responsibly! Kaamatan is also known to be the platform for society to come together and enjoy drinks in a stress-free environment because everyone is in a celebratory mode for the whole month, and alcohols are very easy to get at the booths and stalls in KDCA. Drinking alcohol is also part of the Sabahan culture, we even have our own homemade alcohol like Lihing and Tapai, but just because you’re having fun socializing does not mean you need to abandon your responsibility in ensuring your own safety and others' as well. Please appoint a designated driver if you’re drinking in groups or call for an Uber or taxi when you’re ready to head home. Do not drink and drive and be aware of your surroundings, know your limit and respect others so that everyone can enjoy Kaamatan hassle free. 

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