Sabahans of Europe celebrate Malaysian harvest festival in Sweden

A group of individuals from the Malaysian state of Sabah held the traditional Kaataman thanksgiving festival for the first time in the Swedish city Västerås. The group has been planning the event since November 2023 and it was announced in February this year.

The main initiator of the event Carolyn Chong Norsater sais the aim was to create a space for the Sabahans of Europe. The event was attended by 45 Sabahans across Europe.

“One of the main motivations behind the initiative is to connect with more Sabahans and Malaysians residing in Europe. For us, the primary objective is to alleviate our homesickness by reuniting with fellow Sabahans,” she said.

The event included traditional cuisines  such as Hinava, which is a type of raw fish salad, Pinasakan which is fish in sour gravy as well as Bambangan also known as Borneo wild mango and  Tuhau, a dish made of wild ginger.

Furthermore, there was Sumazau dancing, traditional music and traditional games. Tgere was also a beauty pageant, arm wrestling and a singing competition called Sugandoi.

The individuals planning the event are a part of the ethnic group Kadazan Dusun. The Sabah state is located on the northern part of the island of Borneo.

Kaamatan means “harvest” according to the Kadanzandudun language and it is celebrated in the whole month of May, ending in a public holiday on a date selected by a priestess known as the bobohizan.

Source Daily Express

About Charlotte Nike Albrechtsen

Charlotte Nike Albrechtsen is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

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