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Pesta Keamatan in Malaysia

Most native Sabahans consider rice to be more than just a staple diet. There is a certain sacredness attached to it, for it is food given to them by Kinoingan, the Almighty Creator so that his people should never want for food. He sacrificed His only daughter- Huminodun and from her body parts, padi (rice) grew.

This was Kinoingan's ultimate act of benevolence and to this day, His people repay the deed by conducting various ceremonies to honour Bambaazon, the spirit of Huminodun as embodied in rice.


Pesta Kaamatan in Malaysia

The most well-known of these is Pesta Keamatan or Harvest Festival which begins on the first of May and celebrated throughout Sabah. Of major importance to this thanksgiving ceremony is the Magavau - a ritual to invite Bambaazon to the Pesta and is conducted only by the Bobohizan or high priestess.

Festivities cannot proceed without the presence of Bambaazon and it is through Magavau that the Rice Spirit is invoked. A second offering arranged in a winnowing tray is placed on a specially built bamboo platform. This is for the spirits to bring back to the spirit world to feed those creatures that would otherwise feed off the padi.

Pesta Keamatan around the state culminates in the state level celebrations on May 30 and 31 every year with Magavau being enacted indoors before the celebrations begin.








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