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Kadazan rice harvest

Listed under Harvests & Food Festivals in Sabah, Malaysia.

  • Photo of Kadazan rice harvest
  • Photo of Kadazan rice harvest
Photo of Kadazan rice harvest
Photo by flickr user Robert Thomson
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Rice in Malaysia was traditionally believed to be animated by a soul, and this rice soul was centered around a myth. Human characteristics similar to the Malays were attributed to the rice soul - sensitive and easily offended or shamed by harsh words or treatment. These attributes became the basis for extensive rituals and traditions that are still displayed and celebrated today during the rice harvest.

Each May the Kadazans, a group native to the state of Sabah, dedicate their harvest to the rice gods and celebrate in traditional festival style. They work together in the fields carefully harvesting the rice to appease its spirit, the Semangat. During the Kadazans' harvest festival, the festivities continue from sun rise to sun down with natives wearing their traditional costumes, enjoying the cultural programmes and games, and savouring the region's tapai, an alcoholic drink made from the rice wine. It's a great site for visitors and locals alike.


Written by  Allison Hansen.

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