Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebration 2017

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebration 2017

Kota Kinabalu Christmas

Celebration 2017

22

December, 2017

Our Kota Kinabalu Tour!

Taste of Borneo Cooking Class

Mari Mari Cultural Village

This year marks the 13th edition of the Christmas Celebration in Kota Kinabalu City and this celebration will be organized through a collaboration of Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) and Sabah Council of Churches (SCC), which will be held on December 11th – 14th 2017 at the Padang Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu City. This is a yearly event that anyone should not miss out especially for those visiting Sabah Borneo for their Borneo Holidays.

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations Poster

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

Given the theme for this celebration is “God’s Love, Man Hope”, with the purpose of bringing all community, regardless of their difference in race and religion, to celebrate the Christmas Celebration together on this event. For this year Christmas Celebration, there are a variety of exciting performances which showcases cultural diversity, classical, as well as modern elements. Apart from that, there are also local and international artists invited to perform during the event too.

What makes everyone looking forward to this joyous Christmas Celebration (me being one of them), was the stalls during the event; vendors selling a variety of food and drinks, as well as featuring their Christmas element into their display and designs to bring out the Christmas spirit. I am glad to say that I got a chance to visit the Christmas Celebration this year. It was truly an eye-opening event, where you can see many stalls selling a variety of foods and drinks, Christmas delicacies, preloved stuff, Christmas gifts, Christmas Choirs, as well as some exciting games.

Despite it raining since the first day of the event, it did not stop the crowd coming to enliven the Christmas Celebration. Here are some of the pictures that I have taken during the event:

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

Christmas lights hanging on the tree, can you see the “Merry Christmas” signboard above?

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

A big and tall Christmas Tree decorated with red ornaments is sponsored by YES(a mobile 4G brand)

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

One of the things that make the event interesting, there is a stall selling LED light Balloons!

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

Handmade Christmas ornaments using pinecone

Some of the photos of yummy foods and drinks are sold during the event:

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

Lamb Teriyaki Skewers

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

Cute shapes of Cartoon Characters waffles

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebration

Cendol in a cone

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

Ice Blended Fruit Juice

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

This is my first time to see a Galaxy drink (wow!)

 

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

I manage to get it for myself too! ^-^

 

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

Check out this cute Unicorns meringue!

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

.….and more foods!

 

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

Check these photos from Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebration Facebook page:

Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations
Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebrations

Need to see more photos? Check out their Facebook Page here.

Miss out on this event for your Borneo Holidays? Don’t worry, there is always next year for you to visit the Christmas Celebration and each year will have different kinds of activities and performance for the event. Apart from that, check out our other blog posts to know places in Kota Kinabalu that you can visit with your kids for your Borneo Holidays.

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Hinompuka – Kadazan Traditional Delicacies in Sabah Borneo

Hinompuka – Kadazan Traditional Delicacies in Sabah Borneo

Hinompuka – Kadazan Traditional Delicacies in Sabah Borneo

20

December, 2017

Our Kota Kinabalu Tour!

Taste of Borneo Cooking Class

Mari Mari Cultural Village

Sabah Borneo is known for its stunning nature, beautiful underwater life, exotic Borneo flora and fauna, as well as rich indigenous culture, which later reveals a wealth of fresh produce from Sabah Borneo. These ingredients, along with the creativity of Sabahan cooking resulted in a truly diverse and fascinating delicacies. One of the delicacies that travelers should try it out, will be Hinompuka, a traditional delicacy of Kadazan (Major tribe in Sabah Borneo). It is a common and popular sweet desserts within the Kadazan people in Sabah Borneo.

What is Hinompuka?

Hinompuka, also known as a steamed glutinous rice cake, is basically a delicious sticky cake that is popular among Kadazan people, one of the indigenous group in Sabah Borneo. The ingredients for this delicious delicacy is made of a mixture of brown rice flour, glutinous red rice flour, palm sugar, and grated coconut flesh. Then, wrapped it in banana leaves before steaming it.

Hinompuka - Traditional delicacies in Sabah Borneo

The above two Hinompuka are in Banana flavor, while below two are in Tapioca flavor. Photo: Dolly MJ

Nowadays, the Kadazan people are so creative, they even fill either banana or sweet potato into the Hinompuka in order to create a variety of flavors inside the delicacies. Hinompuka is usually served on certain occasions such as Kadazan traditional weddings, Kaamatan Harvest Festival (celebrated yearly on 30th-31st May), or other celebrations such as birth, engagement, etc.

Hinompuka - Traditional delicacies in Sabah Borneo

Hinompuka in the making. Photo: CSSUPM

Hinompuka - Traditional delicacies in Sabah Borneo

Hinompuka dough in the making closeup

Hinompuka - Traditional delicacies in Sabah Borneo

Hinompuka is also good for breakfast. Photo: tinaskmoinjil

Hinompuka - Traditional delicacies in Sabah Borneo

Hinompuka best to eat with a cup of coffee/tea. Photo: Madona Nandu

Apart from that, Sabah Borneo has numerous delights to tempt even to the least adventurous eater. By exploring the villages and local cafes in Sabah Borneo, or by eating with the locals, travelers will get to know the new tastes and aromas which are unique to them. In Sabah Borneo, travelers can get the chance to taste out the other traditional delicacies in D’Place Kinabalu.

To experience more of the best local specialities and delicacies of Sabah Borneo, here is a blog post that travelers should particularly look for Borneo Holidays.

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6 local snacks travelers should taste in Sabah Borneo

6 local snacks travelers should taste in Sabah Borneo

6 local snacks travelers should taste in Sabah Borneo

15

December, 2017

Our Kota Kinabalu Tour!
 

North Borneo Cruise

When traveling to Sabah Borneo, apart from tasting out the unique delicacies of Sabah Borneo, travelers also should taste some of Sabah Borneo’s snacks which were made by the locals themselves. Moreover, these local snacks can also make wonderful souvenirs for travelers to bring back home. It is one of the ways for travelers to share the delicate taste of Sabah Borneo to their loved ones, at the same time sharing their Borneo Holidays story.

Here are six local snacks that travelers should taste it in their trip to Sabah Borneo, and also as a souvenir gift to their loved ones back home:

1) Handmade Chocolate

Local Snacks In Sabah Borneo

Various flavors of Chocolates from the local produce in Sabah Borneo

Aside from the chocolates that are sold at any convenience store, this handmade chocolate are the one that you should taste it out. Not only is it chocolate but it comes with an exotic flavor of taste and ingredients, such as Durian, Pineapple, Jackfruit, Green Tea, Banana, Virgin Coconut Oil, and more. Apart from that, the packaging design of the chocolates also reflect some of the local Sabah Borneo theme, which makes it more interesting as a souvenir gift. One of the best known Sabah Borneo Handmade Chocolate is from the “Simply Chocolate” brand.

2) Amplang

Local Snacks In Sabah Borneo

Amplang – known as Sabah Borneo Spanish Mackerel Crackers

Sabah Borneo is known for its fresh seafood, therefore, the local even made it as snacks. One of the local snacks that travelers should try would be Amplang! It is a seafood cracker that uses mackerel fish as based crisp, molded into ball shapes and fried it. It originated from Tawau, which is the East Coast of Sabah Borneo. The exterior of amplang is powdery, giving the crunchiness and fishy taste inside the mouth, but the fish flavor is not strong and it always makes one wanting more. Amplang crackers are now available in prawn and squid, or travelers can choose either original or spicy flavor which suited one’s taste buds. Since travelers could not bring the seafood to share with their loved ones back home, then amplang crackers can be the perfect souvenir to give to their loved ones and share the tastiest seafood from Sabah Borneo.

3) Kuih Cincin

Local Snacks In Sabah Borneo

Kuih Cincin literally translated as Ring Crackers because of it shapes like a joined rings

Kuih Cincin is another local snack that traveler should try out and it can be a perfect souvenir gift. Kuih Cincin is made from rice flour and brown sugar, it is mainly produced by the Malay community in Papar, the west coast part of Sabah Borneo. In addition, it is usually molded into shapes of joined rings together that will look like a floral shape and fried twice to give it a more golden crunchy texture. It is crunchy, delicious, and sweet in taste (thanks to the brown sugar!), taking bits of Kuih Cincin will eventually melt away into mild creamy sweetness inside the mouth (yummy..!), making it the perfect snack to savor while drinking a cup of coffee.

4) Kerepek Ubi

Local Snacks In Sabah Borneo

Kerepek Ubi – a giant tapioca cracker

Not many travelers will ever encounter this giant tapioca cracker except for those who are going to Kudat or Kundasang for their Borneo Holiday trip. Locals called it Kerepek Ubi, it looks like a wafer or cracker but with tapioca as main ingredients and added with a sugar syrup swirling on top of the crackers. It usually measures about 10-15 inches compared to any crackers that measure only about one square inch. Moreover, Kerepek Ubi is made up of only four items, which is fresh tapioca, tapioca flour, white sugar and cooking oil (for frying). Therefore, travelers who are health conscious type, these local snacks are perfect to taste it because it does not contain any chemical preservatives. However, it might not be a bit tricky to bring it back home as souvenir due to its fragileness.

5) Kuih Lidah/ Tiram

Local Snacks In Sabah Borneo

Kuih Lidah/ Tiram – the shape is similar to a tongue shape or an oyster shape (Photo by: Abdulrani.samsuddin)

Kuih Lidah/ Tiram is a traditional snack for Bruneian Malay community of Papar, Sabah Borneo. It was named as Kuih Lidah/ Tiram due to its shape similar like a tongue or an oyster, but these snacks are in fact a layer of flour fried that are covered with icing sugar or powdered milk. Some locals will say that these snacks are the Sabahan version of Churros, which is best to eat while it is still hot and crunchy, plus with a little bit of sweetness. Nowadays, Kuih Lidah/ Tiram have other flavors for travelers to try it out, such as Chocolate, Green Bean, Strawberry, and Vanilla flavor. With diverse of flavors, these local snacks are not to be missed out in Borneo Holidays and it may be perfect to bring it back home to share the sweet taste of local snacks from Sabah Borneo.

6) Kuih Jala

Local Snacks In Sabah Borneo

Kuih Jala – a traditional local snack in Borneo

Kuih Jala is a traditional snack that is famous in Borneo and Sabah Borneo is not an exception. Its shape looks similar to a vermicelli noodles tangles all together and it is in brown color. In addition, Kuih Jala is made from flour, sugar, water, and cooking oil (for frying). What makes Kuih Jala interesting is not only its delicious sweet taste but its method of cooking the Kuih Jala. After mixing all the ingredients together until the mixture becomes dense and a bit gluey, locals will put the mixture into a coconut shell which has been poked with tiny holes underneath and moves it quickly into the hot cooking oil.

When the mixture drip from the tiny holes, move it in a circular motion in one direction for few seconds until it becomes like a plate-shape in yellowish color and fold it into triangle shape using bamboo sticks. Apart from tasting Kuih Jala during Borneo Holidays, travelers can also experience cooking the Kuih Jala in Mari Mari Cultural Village.

Looking over the list of the local snacks in Sabah Borneo, we hope travelers will not miss this out to try the delicious local snacks, and maybe bring it back home for family and friends. These local snacks can easily be found in any stalls, vendors, and even markets, so travelers won’t need to hunt for these local snacks during their Borneo Holiday trip. Want to know more about local food that travelers should try in Sabah Borneo? Click here to read our must eat in Sabah Borneo. Check out also these awesome activities that you can do in Sabah Borneo to make your Borneo Holidays more exciting than before!

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Superstitions to be aware of in Sabah Borneo

Superstitions to be aware of in Sabah Borneo

Superstitions need to be aware of in Sabah Borneo

13

December, 2017

Our Kota Kinabalu Tour!

KK city tour

TARP island hopping

North Borneo Cruise

Almost every culture in the world has their own set of rituals, behaviors or beliefs that were set by their own ancestor and some of it requires the need to follow or act out. In addition, these superstitions sometimes refer to any belief or practices surrounding luck, prophecy, and certain spiritual being, particularly the belief of future events which can be foretold through unrelated events. Some people may think superstitions is kind of irrational with the current modernization, but to some, they still practice it until today.

In Borneo Island, superstitions are deeply rooted in the cultures here in Borneo, and some are still widely practiced by the older generations especially. Borneo Island is the third largest island in the world (after Greenland and New Guinea), and it is the largest island in Asia too! Mount Kinabalu is situated in Sabah Borneo, is the highest point in Borneo Island, with an elevation of 4,095m. Still wondering where is Borneo? Click here to see the Borneo map.

The superstitions in Borneo Island, especially Sabah Borneo, were mostly handed down generations by way of Oral Tradition, such superstitions mostly concern on bringing good or bad luck. In addition, the superstitions in Sabah Borneo can be different from generation to generation or places to places, due to the reason of different ethnicity residing in different locations. For travelers who are interested in learning about the cultures here in Sabah Borneo, this is the article for you!

Here are some of the superstitions that you need to be aware of while traveling to Sabah Borneo.

1) Respecting Mount Kinabalu

Going to climb Mount Kinabalu can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience in one’s life. Apart from that, the locals in Sabah Borneo, especially the Kadazandusun tribe, believe that Mount Kinabalu is sacred to them as it is the “the revered place of the dead”. Feel free to read here to know more about “The Legends of Mount Kinabalu“.

Mount Kinabalu climb

Mount Kinabalu summit trail

So, whoever plans to climb Mount Kinabalu, especially for first-timers, these are the things that they need to know beforehand:

  • One should not shout, curse, or make loud noises while climbing Mount Kinabalu, as to avoid bad spirits from disturbing them or whoever is climbing with them.
  • Do not pluck any plants or pick a stone from the mountain and bring it back home; locals believe (and still do!) that some plants or natural objects have “residents” in them. Taking them with you will only aggravate them and cause them to retaliate
  • Ask for permission before peeing or throwing your empty canisters; you’ll never know if the place you’re throwing has spirits roaming around there or whether it’s their home you’re invading

2) Hunting in Borneo Jungle 

Superstitions Sabah Borneo

Wild Boar hunting. Photo by: Kenneth Sorento

In the olden days, it is believed that when a man is going for hunting in Borneo Jungle for food, he will need to be very careful when having spotted a snake. This is because if the man meets a snake along his path, he will need to turn back home. Moreover, meeting a snake is a bad sign, and if the man continues further to hunt, he will not catch anything or worse, get hurt.

3) Sogit 

Superstitions Sabah Borneo

Sogit can be in form of livestock, agricultural produce such as tajau or gongs. Photo by: Rabani HM. Ayub

Superstitions Sabah Borneo

Kadazandusun ritual by a group ofg Bobohizan or Shaman to appease the mountain spirit. Photo by: Arkitrek.com

Sogit is a Kadazandusun term which means penalty or fine, it is also considered as “peace-offering”. Imposing a Sogit depends on what kind of mistake that particular individual did, such as fighting, indecent acts, and so forth. In addition, Sogit is usually in form of livestock, agricultural produce, or items such as knives, machetes, tajau (crock), or gongs. The Sogit is dependant on how serious the individual’s offense is; the heavier the offence, the heavier or bigger the penalty will be. For example, if a man were to marry a woman who is of far relations to them (3rd cousin from either parent’s side), they will need to cut a whole pig and offer the whole village a portion of the cooked pork as compensation as well as to wash away all the bad luck that might hit them in the future (both future bride and groom cannot eat the pork however).

In 2015, there was an Earthquake in Sabah Borneo, which caused death to 18 innocent people. The locals believed that this event was caused by the indecent behaviors of a group of tourists, which angered the mountain spirits (the tourist undressed and were butt naked on the Summit; indecency overkill). The locals were enraged and believed it was the spirits being angry when the earthquake happened. The tourists were caught and was imposed with Sogit, in which the tourists have to pay 10 heads of Buffalo, in order to appease the mountain spirits for their awful behavior.

4) Funeral 

Kadazandusun tribe believed that when someone died in a certain village, everyone must be informed. Thus, nobody should do any kind of work on the day of the funeral (eg: planting rice). They believed that doing any work during this occasion will bring misfortune and disrespect to the deceased. Apart from that, the body will be placed in the house for 3 days before the burial and the occupants in the house must stay awake to accompany the body because they believed that a devil which disguise in form of a large bird will fly away with the body. Some also believed that the spirit of the dead is still wandering around the house for the last time, so by keeping awake will show some respect to the dead. Thus, whoever fall asleep will be doused with water and they should not be offended by it.

Moreover, no cats are not allowed to be near to the dead body. This is to prevent the cats to jump over the body, which Kadazandusun believed that the dead body will awaken but obviously possessed by an evil spirit.

5) Moths/ Butterfly fly into the house 

Superstitions Sabah Borneo

Huge moth outside the house. Photo by: the longerthebetter

Some locals in Sabah Borneo believed that when a big moth flies into the house in the middle of the night, it is actually a spirit of their recently departed relatives coming for a visit. The old folks will advise not to chase the moth out from the house or kill it, as a way to respect their departed relatives’ spirit.

Apart from that, the locals also believed that when moths/ butterflies came flying into the house during the day, it means the house owner will be expecting guests, either from a long-lost relatives or friends, coming to the house.

6) Tapun  

For Kadazandusun people, the concept Tapun is basically about food and it is still practiced until now. There is no easy word to describe the word Tapun, but it is the locals’ way of saying this word when they could not eat some food that they thought about or when offered by others. By saying the word Tapun, they can avoid any harm when going out from the house.

7) Other Superstitious  

There is also a minor superstitious which some Kadazandusun people still believe until today. Such as, whistling at night is prohibited, because it will invite the devil in a form of a snake to come. Apart from that, children are not allowed to point the rainbows using their fingers, because if they do, their fingers will be bent and become stiff.

Picnic by the river in Borneo Jungle can be so much fun and excitement, however, Kadazandusun people believed that some of the food must be “shared” with the guardians of the place before they eat, in order to avoid getting sick when they return home.

Such superstitions among Kadazandusun tribe in Sabah Borneo is not all that bad, but it is best to have some of the knowledge of the superstitious and do respect it. Moreover, it would make your trip to Sabah Borneo much more interesting after knowing some of the superstitious, and it can be a good story to share with your family and friends back in your hometown! 

Get to know more about Kadazan tribe, one of the major tribe in Sabah Borneo, here in our other blog post!

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Things to do in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo – Jesselton Artisan Market

Things to do in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo – Jesselton Artisan Market

Things to do in Kota Kinabalu,

Sabah Borneo – Jesselton Artisan Market

29

November, 2017

Our Kota Kinabalu Tour!

Mari Mari Cultural Village

 

Taste of Borneo Cooking Class

Jesselton Artisan Market

A trip to Sabah Borneo will grant any of us (as travelers) a promise to experience the wildest adventure in our life by going for a trekking expedition to Borneo Rainforest or spot some wildlife that is endemic in Sabah Borneo. Our Sabah Borneo Holiday will begin in the capital city of Sabah Borneo, which is Kota Kinabalu City. Kota Kinabalu City was formerly known as Jesselton City and is located on the northwest coast of Borneo, facing the South China Sea. Some might think staying in Kota Kinabalu City can be tedious, but with its own modern hip vibe, well-developed infrastructures, delicate taste of local food, breathtaking sunset view, its diverse local culture, the exquisite locals’ handmade of arts and craft, eventually will make us fall in love with Kota Kinabalu City in a day. Some might consider on extending their holiday just to explore more of the charms of Kota Kinabalu City.

One of the activity that we should not miss out to do in Kota Kinabalu City, is a chance to visit the Jesselton Artisan Market. Jesselton Artisan Market is an inspiring arts and craft bazaar, which showcases the locals’ own skilled and handmade of decorative arts, jewelry, clothing, home decorations, furniture and more interesting stuff that might amaze us. Moreover, there will be food stalls, food trucks, mini handcraft workshops, and class sessions by the artisan itself will be held during the bazaar.

A visit to Jesselton Artisan Market for a day will never make anyone feel bored. I have gone to many Arts and Craft Bazaar before, but I always end up feeling bored after spending about half an hour there. Unlike Jesselton Artisan Market, I can literally spend half a day walking around there! My last visit to Jesselton Artisan Market was on 7th October 2017 and I can say that there was never a dull moment! I was in awe to see some of the creative handmade arts and crafts, as well as listening to the music performance by the local bands/artists.

Jesselton Artisan Market is a new event in 2017 and organized by Salt X Paper. In addition, the Jesselton Artisan Market sometimes collaborate with other creative groups (such as Doodle Malaysia, Inktober Malaysia, etc) for this event.

Let me share with you some of the interesting things that can be expected in Jesselton Artisan Market:

Jesselton Artisan Market

Handmade coin purse and pieces of jewelry by The Pink Dinosaur

Jesselton Artisan Market

Handmade jewelry and crafts by iCare Crafts

Jesselton Artisan Market

Aren’t these cute cupcakes? But these are not edible cupcakes, these are handmade soaps!

Jesselton Artisan Market

Travel quote postcards

Jesselton Artisan Market

Woven Rattan of Sabah Borneo Mini Bag

Jesselton Artisan Market

“ I solemnly swear that I am up to no good”…
A wood engraving of Marauder’s map from the movie of Harry Potter by YBcuts

Jesselton Artisan Market

A drawing of Malaysian favorite desserts, ABC or shaved ice

Jesselton Artisan Market

“Colourful drawing of Mount Kinabalu as a postcard

Jesselton Artisan Market

Pick your favorite characters of lego keychain

Jesselton Artisan Market

Handmade metal necklaces based on Borneo motives by Pogunsavat Craftwork

Jesselton Artisan Market

Aww…so cute the watercolor drawing of a baby Orangutan…

Jesselton Artisan Market

A hand-drawn mandala on wood by Henna Sapok

Apart from that, handmade arts and crafts are not the only attraction we can see during the Jesselton Artisan Market, there are also some food stalls and food trucks to fill up our hungry tummy. The food itself are creatively designed and the taste are oh-so-delicious! One of the interesting food that I have tasted (and it was my first time too!) during the Jesselton Artisan Market is the beef bacon flavored popsicle (yikes!) by Pops and Pints. They do have other flavors of ice cream, such as strawberry, yogurt, sweet potatoes, and laksa flavor too.

Jesselton Artisan Market

Lime Mint flavor(left) and Beef Bacon flavor Ice Cream (right)

Jesselton Artisan Market

Unicorn Yogurt Ice Cream by Gelato Lab

For this coming Jesselton Artisan Market, it will be held on 2nd-3rd December 2017, this time the organizer will do a Christmas themed event! (yeah!) There will be about 100 local artisan brands selling their original handmade creations, a chance to participate in a sing-along Christmas Carolling, Christmas theme of art installations and displays, as well as a Christmas Charity where we can donate to the poor and needy. Feeling excited? Save the date and see you there!

Missed out on this event? Worry no more, there are other things that we can do in Kota Kinabalu city. Read here for a travel guide to Kota Kinabalu.

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People of Sabah Borneo – Kadazan Tribe

People of Sabah Borneo – Kadazan Tribe

People of Sabah Borneo –

Kadazan Tribe

24

November, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages

Taste of Borneo Cooking Class

Mari Mari Cultural Village

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

A group of Kadazan tribe. Photo by: Willbord Sikodol

Kadazan is one of the biggest indigenous ethnic group in Sabah Borneo. They are predominant in West Coast of Sabah Borneo; Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, Papar, Tuaran, and Ranau.

What is the meaning of “KADAZAN”?

As a Kadazan myself, I never knew the history of the word “Kadazan”. After reading several articles on the internet, I found out there are many theories on the origins of the word “Kadazan”. A former principal of SMK Majakir Papar in 1979, Mr. Richard F. Tunggolou, stated that the word “Kadazan” comes from :

1)  “Kakadazan”, which means “town”, in Tangaa’ dialect due to the reason that Kadazan people mostly live in towns. We need to know that there are several Kadazan dialects predominant to different districts.

2)  Kadazan term was adapted from the word “Kedayan”, which is an ethnic group from Brunei and Labuan. However, there is no valid explanation and it was just an assumption which is in a linguistic way that the word “Kedayan” sounds similar to “Kadazan”.

3)  According to a high priestess or Bobohizan, the true meaning of the term “Kadazan” means ‘the people of the land”.

In short, the Kadazan term means “the people”. Thus, I will be sharing some of the values that are practiced among the Kadazan people.

Paddy Rice as their source of income

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

The tapai will be put in a jar to preserve the taste of the alcohol

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Tapai drinking session

The Kadazan people, originally Borneo headhunters, are the first Borneo people that uses the plow for farming rice and it became as their main source of income. Prior to that, they are known as agriculturalists, where almost all the rice cultivated in Sabah Borneo is grown by them. As a result, they can create the rice into various delicacies and alcoholic drinks through home-brewed fermentation processes. Tapai and Lihing are an example of Kadazan alcoholic drinks that are made from rice.  Therefore, these alcoholic drinks are usually served during any festive season (Kaamatan or Harvest festival), social gatherings and wedding ceremonies.

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Performing ritual by a group of Bobohizan( priestess of Sabah Borneo) during the Kaamatan celebration

Kaamatan or Harvest Festival is the main festival for Kadazan people, making it one of the main highlight of annual celebrations done here in Sabah Borneo. This festival is not only to honor Bambaazon, which is the spirit of rice paddy for the beginning of harvest, but it is also as a thanksgiving to Huminodun, the daughter of Kinoingan (which means God) for sacrificing her life to save her people from famine. Read here to know more about Kaamatan story.

Today, Tadau Kaamatan festival is celebrated with a lot of interesting and fun activities, such as exhibitions of Borneo culture, sports competitions, traditional handmade crafts, food and beverage exhibition, performances by local artists and traditional musical group, as well as the Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant.

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

One of the important ritual during the Kadazan wedding, Miohon Pinisi, as a symbol of a reunion of two people

A long time ago, Kadazan culture believed in arranged marriages, as the children in the olden days did not have money or dowry required to get married like today, making them highly dependent towards their parents for choosing a lifetime partner for them. Initially, the parents from the young man side will go visit the family of a prospective bride and discuss to wed their son to the future bride. The parents of the bride will be left to consider the proposition, sometimes they will ask for a picture of their future son-in-law. Most importantly, they will want to know if the young man’s family will be able to come up with the required nopung (which means dowry).

Once the parents of the bride agrees, there will be a second visit in order to arrange the date for engagement and the discussion of the dowry. Some parents of the future bride may ask for a higher price on dowry and bargaining will be expected until reaching to both side’s agreement. I was told by my grandmother that Kadazan women from Penampang are known to have the most expensive dowries! (How lucky I am! Hahaha…)

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

The gongs are beaten by some of the local Kadazan women

When there is a wedding ceremony or any festive seasons, you will have the privilege to witness the Kadazan tribe’s own traditional dance. We called it “Sumazau”, and usually, we will dance with the sound produced by “Magagung” (gong beating), “Bungkau”, “Sompoton” and “Suling” (Flute). The dance consist of a couple of males and females, dressed in beautiful traditional attire, accompanied with the rhythm from the traditional music instruments. However, different districts in Sabah Borneo will have different ways of beating the gong and dance style.

Want to learn the Sumazau dance in Sabah Borneo? Participate in any Harvest Festival or get invited to a Kadazan wedding ceremony!

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Kadazan delicious delicacies. Photo by: Tourism Malaysia

For Kadazan people, the food is basically cooked in a healthy way. Either we boil or grill using a little bit of cooking oil, and use some of the locally available ingredients, such as bamboo shoots, sago, and freshwater fish. One of the famous traditional dishes would be “Hinava”, a raw fish salad that is freshly cut fish into small slices, mix, and marinate with diced red onion, ginger, red chilli, bitter gourd, grated Bambangan seeds and lime juice. Apart from that, there are also Tuhau (wild ginger), Pinasakan ( Braised fish mixed with wild fruit, takob akob, turmeric, and salt), and more. Read here to know more other traditional dishes in Sabah Borneo.

Wherever we travel, understanding one’s culture is what makes the travel worth it. So, when traveling to Sabah Borneo, don’t be surprised to meet few other cultures in Sabah Borneo, as there are about 32 recognizable ethnic groups in Sabah Borneo that you need to discover, and Kadazan is one of it. Isn’t this interesting to know some of the Sabah Borneo cultures? Kadazan culture is definitely the biggest representative culture of Sabah Borneo, the land below the wind.

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