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Origins Of The Kadazan People

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 5501 words Published: 16th May 2017

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The Kadazans are an ethnic group indigenous to the state of Sabah in Malaysia. They are found mainly at Penampang on the west coast of Sabah the surrounding locales,and various locations in the interior. Due to similarities in culture and language with the Dusun ethnic group, and also because of other political initiatives a new unified term called “Kadazan dusun” was created. Collectively, they form the largest ethnic group in Sabah. While Kadazan was an official designation for this ethnic group it is widely believed that the term itself was a political derivative that came into existence in the late 1950s to early 1960s. No proper historical record exists pertaining to the origins of the term or its originator. However, an article written by Richard Tunggolou on this matter may shed some light. According to Tunggolou, most of the explanations of the meanings and origins of the word ‘Kadazan’ assumed that the word was of recent origin, specifically in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He says that some people have theorized that the term originates from the word ‘kakadazan’ (towns) or ‘kedai’ (shops), and from the claim that Kadazan politicians such as the late Datuk Peter J. Mojuntin coined the term.

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However, there is evidence that the term has been used long before the 1950s. Owen Rutter, in his book, The Pagans Of North Borneo, published in 1929, wrote: “The Dusun usually describes himself generically as a tulun tindal (landsman) or on the West Coast particularly at Papar, as a Kadazan.” (page 31). Rutter worked in Sabah for five years as District Officer in all five residencies and left Sabah with the onset of the First World War. This means that he started working in Sabah from 1910 and left Sabah in 1914. We can therefore safely say that the word ‘Kadazan’ was already in existence before any towns or shops were built in the Penampang district and that Kadazan politicians did not invent the word in the late fifties and early sixties. The Bobolians or the Bobohizans of Borneo was interviewed to seek better picture of the true meaning of the term “Kadazan”, a Lotud Bobolian was asked what is the meaning of Kadazan or kadayan? Kadazan means “the people of the land”. The Bobohizan from Penampang was also interviewed seeking the real meaning of Kadazan .The Bobohizan Dousia Moujing confirmed that the Kadazan has always been used to describe the real people of the land Kadazan means “the people of the land”. That confirmed what Rutter had described about the existence of term Kadazan. Thus the word “Kadazan” actually not derived from the word “kedai” (meaning “shops” in Malay). Over a hundred years, the people of Kadazans were ruled by the Brunei Sultanate; the Kadazan or Kadayan in Lotud, Marangang, Liwan were being addressed by the Sultanate as being the “Orang Dusun” which means “the People of the Orchard” Because in Malay, Dusun means Orchard Farm. Thus administratively the Kadazans are called “Orang Dusun” by the Sultanate (Tax-Collector) but in reality the people that was called “Orang Dusun” are in fact Kadazan. An account of this fact was written by the first census made by the North Borneo Company in Sabah, 1881. Administratively all Kadazans are called Dusun as their ethnic identity. Only through the establishment of KCA (Kadazan Cultural Association) in 1960, this terminology was corrected and replaced into Kadazan. When Sabah formed Malaysia together with Sarawak, Singapore and the Peninsular Malaysia in 1963, under the newly form nation of Malaysia, administratively all “Orang Dusun” born after the Malaysia formation is called Kadazan as their ethnic origin.

There were no conflict with regards to Kadazan as the identity of the “Orang Dusun” between 1963 to 1984. But in 1985 through the KDCA (formally called KCA) the Dusun was once again being introduced after much pressures received from the various parties with one reason to divide the Kadazan and the “Orang Dusun” once again. As the division has been established and successful, the fall of the ruling government (PBS) was accomplished. PBS through the KCA then, finally coined in the new term to represent the “Orang Dusun” and “Kadazan” as Kadazandusun. Press released (Sabah Times and Daily Express) by various parties argued that it should not be Kadazandusun but Dusunkadazan! Leaders in Singapore and the Peninsular Malaysia until today acknowledges the people as Kadazan and not Dusun. The ex- Prime Minister of Singapore addressed the ethnic group in Sabah as the Kadazans, and many leaders of Malaysia today. It was said that the Kadazan/Dusun people originated from a place called ‘Nunuk Ragang’ which is roughly located at Tampias, where three rivers, Liwagu, Takashaw, and Gelibang meet to the east of Ranau and Tambunan. Nunuk is a Dusun word for ‘Bayan Tree’, Ragang comes from the word ‘Aragang’ which means red. Nunuk look like giant that provide good natural shelters. It’s tree top was estimated to be able to shelter under seven Kadazan/Dusun huts (a hut measure 12 by 20 feet).

C:UsersUserDesktopNunukRagang (1).jpg

A replica of Nunuk Ragang in Ranau

Culture Characteristic

Kadazan culture is heavily influenced by the farming of rice, culminating in various delicacies and alcoholic drinks prepared through differing home-brewed fermentation processes. Toomis and linutau are the main rice wine variants served and consumed in Kadazan populated areas, and are a staple of Kadazan social gatherings and ceremonies.


The Kadazandusun were traditionally animists but have been influenced by both Christianity and Islam. Many of those that the government counts as Christians come from a church tradition where any child that is born into a family that calls itself Christian is also considered to be Christian. Those holding to traditional religion today believe in a spirit world that is especially important in the cycle of rice cultivation as well as major events in the cycle of life. Although believing in a supreme being who created everything, they also attribute spirits to many things in nature such as birds, animals, and plants.

The “rice spirit” in particular figures prominently in their beliefs and practices. Some of the Kadazandusun people groups are noted for their use of priestesses (‘bobohizan’) for controlling the spirits.

The majority of the Kadazans are Christians, mainly Roman Catholics and some Protestants. Islam is also practiced by a growing minority.The influence of the Spanish missionaries from the Philippines resulted in Christianity in its Roman Catholic form rising to prominence amongst Kadazans. A minority of them are protestants due to later British influence during the 20th century. Before the missionaries came into scene animism was the predominant religion. The Kadazan belief system centers around the spirit or entity called Kinorohingan. It revolved around the belief that spirits ruled over the planting and harvesting of rice a profession that had been practiced for generations. Special rituals would be performed before and after each harvest by a tribal priestess known as a bobohizan.




The most important festival of the Kadazans is the Kaamatan or harvest festival, where the spirit of the paddy is honoured after a year’s harvest. The Kaamatan festival is an annual event in the cultural life of the Kadazandusuns of Sabah since time immemorial. In its deepest sense Kaamatan festival is a manifestation of Creator and Creation relationship, as well as Inter-Creations relationship. It embodies the principal acts of invocation of divinities, appeasing purification and restoration re-union of benevolent spirits, and thanksgiving to the Source of All. It is part of a complex wholesome Momolian religious system centered on the paddy rites of passage and the life cycle of Bambarayon the in dwelling spirit of paddy.


Harvest festival

Appeasing is done in respect of Bambarayon, Deities, Divinities and Spirits, who may have been hurt by human wrongful acts. Purification is performed in respect of human and spiritual needs for forgiveness followed by resolutions to make themselves worthy of the gifts of life from God. Restoration in necessary to ensure the health and well being of SUNIL, mankind and other spiritual beings. Reunion is realised in respect of human needs to be integrated in body mind and spirit within the concept of the seven-in-one divinity in humanity, as well as re-union of Bambarayon with human Sunduan. Finally Thanksgiving is observed as befitting for all creations to express their gratitude and appreciation for the gifts of life (through Huminodun) and all life supportive system on earth that their Creator lovingly and generously gave them.

This takes place in May and the two last days of the month are public holidays throughout Sabah. During the celebration the most celebrated event is the crowning of the ‘unduk ngadau’ or harvest queen, where native Kadazandusuns girls throughout the state compete for the coveted crown. The beauty pageant is held to commemorate the spirit of ‘Huminodon’, a mythological character of unparalleled beauty said to have given her life in exchange for a bountiful harvest for her community.

In marriages, marriage customs amongst the Kadazans vary a little from one district to another but in general are the same. The most important thing about Kadazan marriage customs is the role of the parents of both sides for it is they who make the choice and all the arrangements for the joining together of their children. Usually the children abide by their parents’ decision. The business of making the engagement is done when the boy is only twelve years old and the girl eleven

The Kadazans call this ‘miatod’. The process begins with the boy who is to be engaged paying a formal visit to the girl’s house accompanied by some relatives and close friends. The visit is made at a time which has been agreed upon beforehand. In the girl’s house everybody is ready waiting with members of the family and close friends as well. Whilst waiting for the arrival of the boy’s party, the girl is told to make seven rice-balls as a special dish for her future husband. When she has done this, she is hastily sent to the house of one of her relations, which is never, however far from her own.

As soon as the boy arrives he is invited to enter and is seated on a mat specially woven for occasions such as this, and which is called ‘lawangan’ by the Kadazans. In the meanwhile the question of the size of the dowry is discussed by the elders from both parties. Usually a Kadazan dowry consists of a large gong, a small gong a, (small) cannon, a buffalo, some bronze, land, and so forth. The agreement is made to become effective on the day of the actual wedding.

Finally a meal consisting of rice and buffalo meat, pork, chicken and similar dishes, washed down with drinks like ricewine and the juice of the coconut blossom is consumed to the accompaniment of the beat of gongs. This is when the special rice which has been prepared for the boy by his bride-to-be is fed to him by an old lady from the girl’s side. This is done in front of all present. After this everything is over and the guests depart, except for the bridegroom-to-be and some of his close friends who stay behind in the girl’s house. Now the girl returns from her relation’s house in order to meet her future husband and in order to serve him with more food and drink.

That night the boy and his friends sleep in a room by themselves in the girl’s house. They will return home the following morning. Three days later the girl returns the visit. The same procedures are followed as with the boy’s visit to the girl’s house except that the boy does not have to move out of his house while his fiancee and her friends are there. The next day the girl is sent back to her own house by her fiancee along with other members of her family.

While they are waiting for their coming of age the engaged couple stay with their own parents. However, the boy is obliged to help in his future mother-in-law’s house doing such chores as collecting the firewood ploughing the soil and putting up temporary sheds and the like. Similarly the girl must help her future mother-in-law to plant the rice, cook and so on.

The boy may visit the girl’s house whenever he likes on his own. The girl may also do likewise on condition that she is accompanied by her mother, an aunt or an elder sister. If the boy has an elder sister, he may invite his fiancee to stay a night or two in his house. At the same time if either one of them breaks the rules a penalty will be exacted.

When the parents think that the time has come for their children to be married usually around sixteen or seventeen years of age the date for the wedding is fixed by mutual agreement. At last the betrothal ceremony can take place. A man who is fairly advanced in years from the bridegroom’s side is chosen to carry out the betrothal rites by reading a short couplet set to a Kadazan melody. Then a huge feast is held at which several buffaloes ,pigs and chickens as well as a number of jars of rice-wine and bamboo stems of coconut blossom juice are consumed.

Language Of The Kadazan People

Rationally Kadazan language has existed since their ancestors, at first use of the native languages ​​is a branch of every human interaction, deliver

and receive information. In particular, the spread of such dialects are starting from a small community groups. These groups communicate and develop an

understanding of identity through their language. Eventually it will grow through the diffusion and increase the quantity of these groups. Originally

the Kadazan community groups are in small amount, over time it evolved into large clusters. Kadazan tribe has its own language. Kadazan tribes and

Dusun tribes are actually a different tribe, but were of the same family. Language of both these tribes nearly the same, distinguished only by minor

differences in spelling and pronunciation.

For example, “home” as “walai” in Dusun and “hamin” in Kadazan. Many other words that differ only in spelling such as “two” the “duo” in Dusun and

“duvo” in Kadazan, and “nine” referred to “siam” in Dusun, and “sizam” in Kadazan. However, there is the same word as “a” the “iso” in both languages

and “six” is “onom”.

Music and Dance

The Kadazans have also developed their own unique dance and music. Sumazau is the name of the dance between a male and female performed by couples as well as groups of couples which is usually accompanied by a symphony of handcrafted bronze gongs that are individually called ‘tagung’. Sumazau and Tagung usually played during festive occasions and feasts especially the wedding feast.

The Sumazau Dance

Tagung team

The Kadazan have a musical heritage consisting of various types of tagung ensembles which is composed of large hanging suspended or held bossed or knobbed gongs which act as drone without any accompanying melodic instrument. They also use kulintangan ensembles with an horizontal type melodic instrument.

Agungs also play a major role in agung orchestras ensembles composed of large hanging suspended or held knobbed gongs which act as drones without any accompanying melodic instrument like a kulintang. Such orchestras are prevalent among Mindanao Lumad groups (Bagobo, Bilaan, Bukidon, Hanunoo, Magsaka, Manabo, Mangyan, Palawan, Subanun, T’boli, Tagakaolu, Tagbanwa and the Tiruray), regions in Kalimantan and Indonesia (Iban, Modang, Murut) and Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia (Bidayuh, Iban, Kadazan-Dusan, Kajan, Kayan), places where agung orchestras take precedence over kulintang like orchestras. The composition and tuning of these orchestras vary widely from one group to another. For instance, the Hanunoo of Mindoro have a small agung ensemble consisting of only two light gongs played by two musicians on the floor in a simple duple rhythm while the Manobo have an ensemble (called an ahong) consisting of 10 small agungs hung vertically on a triangular frame. It includes three musicians: one standing up, playing the melody, and the rest sitting. The agong is divided by purpose with the higher-pitched gongs (kaantuhan) carrying the melody three to four lower-pitched gongs (gandingan) playing melodic ostinato figures and the lowest pitched gong (bandil) setting the tempo.

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The Kadazan-Dusun, located on the western coast of Sabah refer to their agung ensemble as a tawag or bandil, which consists of six to seven large gongs in shoreline groups and 7 to 8 large gongs for those in interior valleys. In southwestern Sarawak, Bidayuh agung ensembles consist of nine large gongs divided into four groups (taway, puum, bandil, and sanang), while among the Iban of Sawarak, Brunei, Kalimantan, agung ensembles are smaller in comparison.

Such ensembles can either perform alone or with one or two drums played with the hands or wooden sticks, as accompaniment. They play either homophonically or in an interlocking fashion with the gongs. These agung orchestras often perform at many types of social events, including agriculture rituals, weddings, victory celebrations, curing rites rituals for the dead, entertainment for visitors and other community rituals.

The Agung.

the left gong is the pangandungan, used for basic beats while the right gong is the panentekan, which complements the pangandungan.

Kulintang is a modern term for an ancient instrumental form of music composed on a row of small, horizontally laid gongs that function melodically, accompanied by larger, suspended gongs and drums. As part of the larger gong chime culture of Southeast Asia, kulintang music ensembles have been playing for many centuries in regions of the Eastern Malay Archipelago the Southern Philippines, Eastern Indonesia, Eastern Malaysia, Brunei and Timur, although this article has a focus on the Philippine Kulintang traditions of the Maranao and Maguindanao peoples in particular. Kulintang evolved from a simple native signaling tradition and developed into its present form with the incorporation of knobbed gongs from Sunda.Its importance stems from its association with the indigenous cultures that inhabited these islands prior to the influences of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity or the West making Kulintang the most developed tradition of Southeast Asian archaic gong-chime ensembles.

Technically, kulintang is the Maguindanao Ternate and Timor term for the idiophone of metal gong kettles which are laid horizontally upon a rack to create an entire kulintang set. It is played by striking the bosses of the gongs with two wooden beaters. Due to its use across a wide variety groups and languages the kulintang is also called kolintang by the Maranao and those in Sulawesi and kulintangan or gulintangan by those in Sabah and the Sulu Archipelago and totobuang by those in central Maluku.

By the twentieth century, the term kulintang had also come to denote an entire Maguindanao ensemble of five to six instruments. Traditionally the Maguindanao term for the entire ensemble is basalen or palabunibunyan, the latter term meaning “an ensemble of loud instruments” or “music-making” or in this case “music-making using a kulintang.


The instrument called the “kulintang” (or its other derivative terms) consist of a row/set of 5 to 9 graduated pot gongs, horizontally laid upon a frame arranged in order of pitch with the lowest gong found on the players’ left. The gongs are laid in the instrument face side up atop two cords/strings running parallel to the entire length of the frame with bamboo/wooden sticks/bars resting perpendicular across the frame creating an entire kulintang set called a pasangan.

The gongs could weigh roughly from two pounds to three and 1/8 pounds and have dimensions from 6-10 inches for their diameters and 3-5 inches for their height. Traditionally they are made from bronze but due to the shortage of bronze after World War II and the subsequent use of scrap metal brass gongs with shorter decaying tones have become commonplace.

The kulintang frame known as an antangan by the Maguindanao (means to “arrange”) and langkonga by the Maranao could have designs that could be particularly crude made from only bamboo/wooden poles or highly decorated rich with artistic designs like the traditional okil/okir motifs or arabesque designs. It is considered taboo to step or cross over the antangan while the kulintang gongs are placed on it.

The kulintang is played by striking the bosses of the gongs with two wooden beaters. When playing the kulintang, the Maguindanao and Maranao would always sit on chairs while for the Tausug/Suluk and other groups that who play the kulintangan, they would commonly sit on the floor. Modern techniques include twirling the beaters, juggling them in midair, changing the arrangement of the gongs either before or while playing, crossings hands during play or adding very rapid fire strokes all in an effort to show off a player’s grace and virtuosity.

The Kulintang

The sompoton is another musical instrument. A ceremonial ring of cloth sash is worn by both male and female. The Sumazau and gong accompaniment is typically performed during joyous ceremonies and occasions, the most common of which being wedding feasts.

The sompoton is a mouth organ which is prevalent among the Kadazandusun and Murut community. This fascinating instrument that originates from the district of Tambunan is constructed from a dried gourd and eight bamboo pipes which are arranged in a double-layered raft. A small lamella of polod palm (like a tiny jaw harp) is inserted near the base inside each sounding pipe to create a sweet harmonious sound. The pipes are fitted into a hole on one side of the gourd, sealed with bees wax and bound with thin strands of rattan. To create the perfect melody, musicians will have to manipulate the instrument by covering and uncovering the openings of three of the shortest pipes with the right hand and three small holes near the front and back pipes with the left hand. The sompoton can be played as a solo instrument for personal entertainment or in an ensemble to accompany a group of dancers.

The sompoton has a gourd wind chamber from which extend 8 pipes arranged in two rows. There are bamboo reeds in seven of these pipes only, and three of these pipes do not have sound holes and are played by closing and opening the tops of the pipes with fingers of the right hand. The sumpoton can be played with the pipes pointing up, as is done with smaller instruments or with the pipes pointing either sideways or down with larger instruments. The instruments range in size from 6 inches to 3 feet in length, with the average size of just over 1 foot.

Music featured in the folk traditions of this very interesting and unique. The tools and traditional sounds are abundant in Kadazandusun and it has the potential to be inherited by the younger generation. Among other musical instruments popular tradition is gong, Sompoton, Kulintangan, togunggu or togunggak, bungkau, pumpuak, sundatang, distilled, turali, tongkungon and others.

Birth and Naming Ceremonies

When a woman gives birth to a child in a house, a leaf known as wongkong is immediately tied over the door. This serves to give notice that a birth has taken place and that only those who live nearby may call.

During her period of pregnancy until several days after delivery, the mother is completely in the hands of the midwife. The midwife is usually an elderly woman who is held in high esteem amongst the villagers. Apart from looking after the delivery of the child, the midwife is also responsible for all the medicines, which consist of the roots of trees, herbs, and so on. The midwife advises the mother on the relevant taboos and massages her both before and after childbirth.

The name of the newborn babe is chosen by its grandparents. If the child was born in the house of the mother-in-law, they will have this responsibility; if in the house of the mother’s own parents, they will choose what they consider to be an appropriate name. The names chosen are taken from these ancestors and are based on the world around them such as the names of trees, animals, and so on. Kadazan boys take names like Gimbang, Kunul, Kerupang, Galumau,Gantuong, Empurut, Ampingan, Sangan and so forth: typical, girls’ names are Semitah, Rangkumas, Ansayu, Baimin, Salud, Amin, Nani and Mainah.

When the newborn child is about a month old, the shaving ceremony takes place. Goats, pigs and chickens are always slaughtered for this occasion. There are also jars of rice-wine and dozens of bamboo-stems of coconut blossom juice for those with means, and whatever they can afford for the less well-off.

Beliefs about Illness

According to Kadazan belief, illness is caused by supernatural beings such as ghosts and devils which dwell in the virgin jungle, in fig-trees and in large boulders. Besides this, the Kadazans also believe that some people (called stridden) have the power to cause illness in others whom they do not like.

When someone falls ill in the house, his family will call for a medicine-man who in the case of Sabah is not a man at all, but a woman. This woman not only casts spells and explains the necessary taboos to be followed but also provides medicines appropriate to the sickness from which the patient is suffering. These medicines include, inter alia, the tail and skin of a python, the tail and fat of an ant-eater, cockroaches, bees, rats, rattan roots, nibung-palm roots, betelnut roots, langsat (a fruit) skin and wild bananas. The medicine-woman brings a chicken, a pig and some yellow rice to a fig-tree or a large boulder which she believes to be the abode of a resident spirit. All these things are provided by the family of the sick person.

At the boulder or beneath the fig-tree the woman softly chants her spells in the language of the spirits. This done, she will put the yellow rice in a bamboo stem, to which is added the chicken and pig’s blood which she has just slaughtered, as well as their hearts and lungs. The bamboo stem is then placed on the boulder or below the tree in the ordained manner to the accompaniment of certain words. The medicine-woman then returns home without looking back once. The slaughtered pig and chicken are left where they are for the time being so that the resident spirits can cast their spells over them the spells will be absorbed into the carcasses of the dead animals.

After about half an hour the carcasses will be brought back to the sick man’s house. The slaughtered chicken is smeared all over the body of the patient, followed by the pig which is held by two men. Then the pig is suspended between two poles outside the house and roasted over a fire of bamboo. (No other wood may be used for this purpose:) Whilst the roasting is going on, no one is allowed to utter coarse speech, for to do so according to the general belief would prevent the sick man from ever recovering because the spells of the spirits would have been rendered inoperative. Should someone reveal an easy heart by laughter in the sick man’s house, the person concerned has to pay a customary fine of one chicken. If untoward remarks are made about the fat running off the roasting pig it may not be eaten. The methods described above for the treatment of the sick applies to those who have been crossed by a ghost or a spirit.


When a death occurs in a village everyone is informed. A taboo which must be observed is that no one must do any kind of work on the day of the funeral above all the work of planting rice. It is believed that any work done on such an occasion can only bring misfortune engendered by the fate of the deceased. However, this taboo does not apply should the deceased die far from his own village.

First of all the body is washed and then dressed in fine clothes and sprinkled with rose-water. Sometimes, if the deceased was a cigarette or cheroot smoker, a cigarette or cheroot is placed in his mouth. The body is kept in the house from three to seven days before it is buried. While the body is in the house, all the occupants must keep awake. Whoever falls off to sleep will be doused with water and cannot take offence.

The purpose of keeping awake is to watch out for the devil or genie which in the guise of a large bird will try to fly away with the body. Should the bird come, the day will become overcast and gloomy and there will be thunder and lightning, which will give the creature its chance to dash into the house and look for the body. This bird is known as the pendaatan bird. In order to avoid the bird’s onslaught, cloth is hung around the body. The bird is frightened off by the cloth which it mistakes for human beings.

There should be an atmosphere of complete calm and silence in the house there should be no idle chatter or angry words. In this quietness solace is sought by the slow beating of gongs or drums, the sound of which the Kadazans refer to as Surabaya. These gongs or drums may only be beaten three times a day that is when the sun sets at midnight and as the sun rises the following morning. The greatest care is taken to prevent a cat from jumping over the outstretched corpse for the Kadazans believe that if this happens the dead man will be transformed into a dangerous and terrifying giant. No coffin or burial jar is used for those with neither rank nor wealth. They are carried to the burial ground wrapped up in cloth and tied to a pole which can be easily lifted.

When the body is ready, it is carried in procession to the grave to the accompaniment of gongs and drums, firecrackers and gunfire. On arrival, a spell is cast over the body by an elderly man specially chosen to wait by the open grave. The grave itself is swept with green betelnut leaves so as to prevent the spirits of those who have come along being left behind there.

The body is then lowered into the grave while a sprig from a banyan tree is taken and stuck over its navel. After this has been done, the grave is filled in. The purpose of the banyan sprig is to ascertain whether the deceased still thinks of his wife and children. If he does, the sprig will sprout a shoot; if no shoot appears, this means that he has forgotten all about those he has left behind.

A small hut with an attap or zinc roof and with beautiful designs carved on its plank walls is erected over the grave. A shirt, a clean metal cigar/cigarette box, and some betelnut quids cigarettes and similar items are placed in the middle of the hut. The family of the deceased will send food to the hut every afternoon for seven days, because it is believed that during this period the soul of the dead man has not yet left the body and so still requires food from its living relatives.

No one is allowed to disturb these things. Anyone found doing so will be fined a chicken or five dollars. The bodies of well to do Kadazans are placed in large burial jars which are firmly closed before they are buried with the body inside. Then another very expensive jar is placed above the grave. In some places the burial jar and its contents are not taken straight away to the burial place but are kept in the house itself or in a special hut erected nearby so that the family can mourn there whilst waiting for other relatives who live far off to arrive. Then only is the jar buried. After three days have passed since the burial, a feast is held at night. On this occasion members of the deceased’s family let fall three drops of candle wax through the cracks in the floor of the house onto the ground below.


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