Tadau Kaamatan Festival 2015

Tadau Kaamatan Harvest Festival 2015

The largest festival in Sabah called Tadau Kaamatan Festival 2015 will be celebrated from 30th to 31st May and this is where the Kadazandusun and Murut communities come together during the month of May to offer thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.

The theme for this years Tadau Kaamatan 2015 is "Peace & Unity Through Culture" and this was officially launched on 1st May 2015 at Pisompuruan Square in Tambunan, Sabah. This festival has also been celebrated for the last 55 years here in Sabah.

Tapai Lihing Tasting
Visitors tasting some Tapai and Lihing
Visitors and locals are invited to join in the merriment and be entertained by a variety of traditional and unique cultural dances which are performed at the KDCA on the last weekend here in Penampang. 

There are also traditional sports competition such as mamarampanau (walking on bamboo stilts), arm wrestling and many more. For craft lovers, there are a number of shops that are showcasing or even selling traditional Kadazan craft. Some of the interesting pieces are in the form of ladies accessories.

The Ka'amatan Festival is also a great opportunity to sample traditional local food and drinks which include the fascinating lihing or tuak (local rice wine as in the picture above) where they are found in the traditional houses at the KDCA.

Hongkod Koisaan KDCA Penampang
The Hongkod Koisaan KDCA building in Penampang
2015 Unduk Ngadau
Unduk Ngadau contestants take stage on the final day
Unduk Ngadau 2015

One of the much talked about highlights of the harvest festival is to witness the highly anticipated Unduk Ngadau Harvest Queen beauty pageant as it takes place at the end of the festival to crown the harvest queen for the year. The title Unduk Ngadau comes from the ethnic word Runduk Tadau which means 'the girl crowned by sunlight'. 

This is one beauty contest that no one should miss as it showcases the beautiful Kadazandusun women from each district who are up for the main crown title. The Unduk Ngadau 2015 finals take place at the Hongkod Koisaan KDCA on the 31st May in the Penanpang district which is about 15-20 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu city.

Unduk Ngadau Tambunan, Sabah
Unduk Ngadau contestants from Tambunan, Sabah
For this years prizes, the champion will win a cash prize of RM6,000 and a return ticket to Melbourne, Australia sponsored by Royal Brunei Airlines. Additional cash prizes of RM4,000, RM3,000, RM2,000, RM1,700, RM1,500 and RM1,300 respectively will go to the first to seventh runners-up while consolation prizes will be given to the other contestants.

The main sponsor, Altel, will sponsor the award for the Ratu Popular Altel and a scholarship for diploma course in tourism will be sponsored by ATI College for the Unduk Ngadau Winner 2015. 

Tadau Kaamatan 2015
Traditional Sabahan Dance during Kaamatan
Sabah Harvest Festival 2015 State Wide Celebrations

As Kaamatan is celebrated throughout Sabah, there are various districts that hold their own celebrations to the harvest festival and below is a list of dates and places where you can catch the celebrations. 

Date         Venues
May 1 Tambunan (Grand Launching)
May 2 Keningau
May 7 Tongod
May 9 Kuala Penyu, Menumbok, Klang Valley, Papar, Ranau, & Sook
May 10 Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan & Kinabatangan
May 14 DBKK, Matunggong & Sipitang
May 15 DBKK & Kudat
May 16 DBKK, Kudat, Penampang, Sandakan, Johor Bahru, Pitas, Tungku, Tawau, Putatan, Lahad Datu & Membakut
May 17 Tuaran, Tamparuli, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Inanam, Kunak, Banngi (Kinobungan) & Lahad Datu
May 23 Nabawan, Kemabong & Beaufort
May 24 Kota Belud & Tenom
May 30 Hongkod Koisaan KDCA, Penampang (Launching Ceremony & Traditional Games Exhibitions KDCA)
May 31 Hongkod Koisaan KDCA, Penampang (Grand Finale)

Traditional Bamboo Band from Kundasang
Traditional Bamboo Band from Kundasang, Sabah
Sabah Fest 2015

The Sabah Fest is a prelude to the Statewide Harvest Festival celebration that incorporates dance, music, fashion, food and crafts that is ethnically Sabah. Widely known as Agop by many communities on the east coast, caves have been a definitive feature of their cultural identity spawning a wealth of folklore and ancient practises related to dwellings, deaths, burials as well as a supply of resources for present-day economic activities. 

The celebration of Agop this year takes us on an expedition mostly to the east coast of Sabah to sample the charms of the communities – Ida'an, Dusun Sungei, Begak and Dusun Subpan identified with the ancient cave culture and related on-going traditions and practises. 

Other rarely seen groups such as the Tidong of Tawau, Dusun Sandayoh of Paitan and Dusun Melangkap of Kota Belud also shared the stage to perform and display their culture and musical traditions at this year's Sabah Fest production – one of Sabah's most anticipated annual premier events. The Sabah Fest 2015 show was held from 1-3 May 2015. 

Kadazan Dusun Food at Kaamatan
Various ethnic Kadazan Dusun Food at Kaamatan
Sabah Harvest Festival 2015 Food Showcase

As Sabah is known for their unique ethnic foods, there will be a series of food showcases throughout the month of May and around the city of Kota Kinabalu. For any food lovers, this is the best time to explore the Sabahan delicacies at these events. 

Kaamatan Buffet Dinner
Date: 1 - 31 May
Venue: Golden Dew Bistro, Ming Garden Hotel & Residences, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Mr. Azree Bin Jaidun (+6016 832 6027)
Tel: +6 088 528 888 (ext. 6611)

Sabahan Set Dinner + Cultural Show
Date: 1 - 31 May
Venue: The Kingfisher Restaurant, Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Mr. Shahrun Nidzam Sharoom
Tel: +6 088 480 888 (ext. 6004)

Mother's Day Champagne Brunch featuring a Sabah Cuisine
corner Date:10 May
Time: 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Venue : Cafe TATU, Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Ms. Jeslia 
Tel: +6 088 327 919

Ethnic People of Sabah
An ethnic group from Kota Belud called Walai Tindal
Kaamatan Feast Buffet Dinner
Date: 30 - 31 May
Venue: The Penyu Restaurant, Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Mr. Shahrun Nidzam Sharoom
Tel: +6 088 480888 (ext. 6004)

Harvest Festival Buffet
Date: 30 - 31 May
Venue: Tanjung Ria Kitchen, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Mr. David Lim
Tel: +6 088 221234

International Buffet Dinner Spread - Featuring Local Delicacies
Date: Every Saturday night in the month of May & Sunday 31st May
Venue: Promenade Cafe, Hotel Lobby / Ground Floor, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Mr. Hillary Bestan & Mr. Husin Hasan
Tel: +6 088 265 555 (ext. 1134)

Weekend Dim Sum Buffet Brunch at Shang Palace 
Date: Every weekend in the month of May
Time: Every Saturday from 11:30am to 2:30pm & every Sunday from 10:00 a.m to 2:30 p.m
Venue: Shang Palace, Level 1, Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person : Ms. Jeslia
Tel: +6 088 327 919

Sabah-inspired Champion Cocktails at Sunset Bar
Date: Daily throughout the month of May
Time: 2:00pm to 11:00pm 
Venue: Sunset Bar, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person : Ms. Jeslia 
Tel: +6 088 327 919. Reservation is highly recommended 

Tadau Kaamatan Festival 2015
A Sabahan ethnic group dancing during the Kaamatan celebrations
Tadau Kaamatan Festival Grand Celebrations

The large scale Tadau Kaamatan Festival will also be celebrated in the town of Ranau on the 6th June 2015. This will include the tourism ministers, VIP's, state officials and will showcase some interesting performances and local foods. 

For more information on Kaamatan 2015, please contact;
The Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA): +60 88 713696
Sabah Tourism Board: +60 88 212121
Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd: +60 88 232121
Sabah Tourism Website for Kaamatan

KDCA building in Penampang Sabah
KDCA building in Penampang
Having attended the Kaamatan Harvest Festival in Sabah in 2011, it opened my views to the unique and interesting culture of the Kadazandusun people and also the many other ethnic groups that celebrate this unique festival here. Among the highlights, I have to admit that the Unduk Ngadau Beauty Contest was something unexpected and so very different. 

For anyone who has never been to this, I highly recommend for you to attend this harvest festival which is very unique to east Malaysia. The best time to do this is also at the end of Kaamatan at the Hongkod Koisaan KDCA in Penampang. Otherwise if you are in Sabah anytime in May, you can also visit some of the districts to have an experience for Tadau Kaamatan Festival 2015 on a district level. 

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