Kadazan Cultures – Sabah Borneo

Taken from Imago Shopping Centre

First of all, this photo was taken in the Imago shopping centre. This is the Kadazan cultures in Malaysia. Malaysia aboriginal people are name called Kadazandusun. Their main languages is Dusun. You won’t experience this in the gaya street but you would experience in Kadazan culture in the Imago shopping centre instead. They had set a specific performance times in the shopping centre for tourist to explore and experiences.


The Kadazan people, originally Borneo head-headhuntters, are the first Borneo people that uses the plow for farming rice and it became as their main source of income. Prior to that, they are known as agriculturalists, where almost all the rice cultivated in Sabah Borneo is grown by them. As a result, they can create the rice into various delicacies and alcoholic drinks through home-brewed fermentation processes. Tapai and Lihing are an example of Kadazan alcoholic drinks that are made from rice.  Therefore, these alcoholic drinks are usually served during any festive season (Kaamatan or Harvest festival), social gatherings and wedding ceremonies.

Their most important festival is the Kaamatan or harvest festival, where the spirit of the paddy is honoured after a year’s harvest. This takes place in May. During the celebration, the most celebrated event is the crowning of the ‘Unduk Ngadau’ – the harvest queen in Kadazan. Majority of the Kadazans are Christians, particularly around Penampang and the larger towns. In the district of Ranau, there are also a number of Kadazans who have embraced Islam. They practice arranged marriage. The parents of both sides will make the decision of engagement when the boy is at the age of twelve and girl is eleven. The Kadazans call this ‘miatod’. When a child is born, a leaf known as wongkong is immediately tied over the door. The name of the new born baby is chosen by the grandparents. The names chosen are taken from these ancestors and are based on the nature around them such as the names of trees, animals, and so on.

Sumazau is their traditional dance often performed during the harvest festival or joyous ceremonies. It is danced by farmers, both male and female, who are wearing traditional dress, in black and red. The dance will be accompanied by gongs.

Traditional Kadazan cuisine are cooked in a healthy way – boiling, grilling and with a little use of oil. It also uses locally available ingredients, such as bamboo shoots, sago and fresh water fish. The more popular dishes include hinava, pinasakan, and hinompuka etc.

This is Kadazan traditional clothes

The kadazan performance always having in the Imago shopping Centre located at the main entrance of the shopping centre. As long as they seen the tourist come in the main entrance, they will perform their cultures shows. However, you would also see them around the shopping centre walking around with well performance like what photo shown above. Just imagine that is there any local culture show in the shopping centre in your country to give the tourist to experience the local culture? Some people may think it is weird that why the performance having inside the shopping centre and not at the festival instead. Well, this imago shopping centre is one of the top tourist shopping centre where there is full of tourist shopping around and see what is interesting inside. Although imago shopping centre stuff are expensive as a top shopping centre in Kota Kinabalu, but it is still cheaper than our own country.

Will going or thinking of visit Kota Kinabalu Sabah Malaysia, try to plan to go to Imago shopping centre to explore and see what is something interesting there likewise I said you will experience the cultures performance inside there and the food are very nice 🙂

2 thoughts on “Kadazan Cultures – Sabah Borneo

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