Published on: Monday, June 29, 2009
Kota Kinabalu: The Rungus community will be celebrating the Pesta Magahau on a grand scale for the first time on July 8-9 at Matunggong town padang.
Organising chairman Thomas Arinjamal Mojingal said the time has come to promote the Rungus celebration of a good paddy harvest.
Normally, he said, the Magahau is celebrated at village level only, with the largest ever held at Matunggong district level in 2001.
"The idea to make the Pesta Magahau a State-level celebration has been in our mind for a long time but it never materialised due to some problems," he said.
But a meeting with Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun recently opened the opportunity for the Sabah Momogun Rungus Association (Samora) to organise the event together with Matunggong sub-district office.
Thomas said the Chairman of the Sabah Cultural Board (SCB), Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau, has also encouraged the Magahau to be made a State-level celebration.
The Magahau, he said, has two highlights, namely the Mamapak Mindahu and Gimpuhut.
The Mamapak Mindahu, he said, is a ritual similar to the bambarayon (traditional ritual to appease the spirits) ritual during the Kaamatan Festival.
A pinapakan or small podium, he said, would be set up where a live pig would be tied in the middle as sacrifice to the mogolungung or God.
The second highlight, the Gimpuhut, is similar to the Unduk Ngadau.
However, Thomas said the Gimpuhut is slightly different because seven judges will be appointed to carry out the selection process.
"The winner will be based on beauty (anggun), discipline, intelligence, friendly attitude, costume and accessories, able to dance the mogigol sumundai, able to speak Rungus and understands Rungus customs," he said.
Unlike the Unduk Ngadau, he said, Magahau beauties would be required to "mix around" so that they could be judged on their friendliness with the crowd.
The final round of the Gimpuhut would be held in the longhouse where all of them would be judged at one time.
Because this is the first time the event is held in such a grand scale, he said it would be documented electronically and in print.
He said Masidi would be officiating at the event on July 9 while Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili is expected to attend on July 8.
The Magahau is traditionally held as a form to return some of the blessings the people received from their endeavours either in business or farming.
Thomas said it is also to provide an opportunity for the people to assemble and chance for relatives, family members and people from other villages to know each other.
"Informally, this would be a good opportunity for young people to look for life partner," he said.
Similar to the Kaamatan Festival, he said there would also be traditional sports, namely the mogoniu-koniu (mimicking of an eagle flight), mingranggou (walking on bamboo stilts and mangalasiu (the act of spearing an animal).
He said there would be cash prizes for the traditional sports.