MAY is a month of merry making for the KadazanDusun and Murut community in Sabah and the country as they celebrate Tadau Kaamatan or Harvest Festival.
Families will gather during this month and hold reunions with their relatives to celebrate the bountiful padi harvest.
During this month districts will hold their respective Harvest Festival celebrations and the highlight of the festivities is the ‘Unduk Ngadau’, a pageant to select a young woman from the district to represent ‘Huminodun’ who according to traditional beliefs had sacrificed her life for the KadazanDusun and Murut people.
In an article titled ‘The Kaamatan Mystery’ written by Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Executive Secretary Dr Benedict Topin for the 2014 state-level Pesta Kaamatan celebration’s souvenir program, he presented a synopsis and summary of the KadazanDusun Genesis and the Cosmological Flow of events leading to Huminodun’s sacrifice.
Dr Benedict said that the ‘Unduk Ngadau’ Bobolian (Priestess) Odu Miada Gumarong told him that it happened during a Kaamatan Festival celebration that questions arose from young girls in attendance and helping to serve food and drinks as to how ‘Huminodun turned Bambarayon’ looks like.
“So the Bobolians and elders made a selection of the most beautiful, humblest, modest and purest in heart, body, mind and spirit from among the young girls present at the celebration and imparted to them that if Huminodun was there at the feast, she would seek company with the exemplary girl they picked from among them,” he said.
“In Penampang, Inai Rosenani Sogondu referred to the term Unduk Ngadau as a shortened version of the phrase ‘kovunduk do tadau’ meaning ‘can cause the sun to drop,” he wrote.
Dr Benedict added, in relation to Huminodun, the full phrase ‘kovunduk do tadau vinanus’ is descriptive of Huminodun’s extra ordinary radiance and dazzling beauty of her eyes, whose gaze can even humble and cause the mighty blazing eye-ball of the sun to drop.
In another light, he said, Unduk Ngadau is a commemorative term in praise of Huminodun’s eternal youth and total beauty of the heart, mind, body and spirit.