30/05/2024 05:37 PM

PENAMPANG, May 30 (Bernama) -- The Kaamatan Festival, celebrated annually in May, is a platform to conserve and promote the culture and uniqueness of the various ethnic communities in Sabah, said Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

Jeffrey, who is the state Kaamatan Festival organising chairman, said the festival has the potential to attract more residents as well as tourists and foreign investors to Sabah.

The Deputy CM, who is also the State Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Minister, said the traditional houses on the grounds of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) here, for example, feature dances and display musical instruments, traditional clothes as well as serve traditional food for visitors during the Kaamatan Festival.

"The programme this time is filled with more opportunities for the youth, especially Generation Z, to get involved in the Kaamatan Festival. It includes Buvazoi Tavantang (or the Mr Kaamatan pageant), the implementation of folk sports in Institutes of Higher Education and secondary schools, singing competitions, and creative dances specifically for school students," he said in his speech at the state-level Kaamatan Festival Celebration Ceremony at the Hongkod Koisaan KDCA Hall here today.

"It is believed that the involvement of youth, especially the Generation Z, will help in the effort to maintain and preserve traditional culture and customs so that they do not disappear with time,"

The Yang diPertua Negeri of Sabah Tun Juhar Mahiruddin inaugurated the opening ceremony of the festival. The event was also attended by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and KDCA president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

Themed “Kaamatan, Beyond Food Security”, the Kaamatan Festival is a traditional annual celebration held as a sign of gratitude for the rice harvest season every year, now evolving as a medium of unity for the people of Sabah as well as the whole country.

Elaborating further, Jeffrey said the Kaamatan Festival celebration is also one of the best platforms to strengthen community harmony since it involves the participation of all ethnic tribes in Sabah, with their cultural diversity including clothing, dance and food.

The festival is also a platform to strengthen the spirit of unity in the community to ensure social, political and economic stability as well as to ensure orderly and sustainable development is always maintained, he said.

Meanwhile, he also said this year's Kaamatan Festival also continued the Seeds' Spirit Revival programme to increase community awareness of environmental conservation, especially herbal plants that have value in terms of medical and commercial science.

According to him, the International Day for Cultural Diversity Dialogue programme, held every year on May 21, helps to promote cultural heritage and environmental conservation in Sabah and on a global scale.

Thus, the people of Sabah are urged to work hand in hand to preserve and conserve the environment in dealing with the issue of climate change and lack of food supply while enjoying the current of modernisation, he added.




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