Pesta Rumbia (Sago Festival)
Annually, 1st weekend of July
A notable festival that is celebrated annually is the Pesta Rumbia (Sago festival). The sago tree is the tree of choice for celebration as it grows in great abundance in the region. Sago (called sagu or ambuyat in the local dialect. When cooked, it is gummy in texture) is eaten by most of the people regardless of their ethnic origin.
Pesta Rumbia is a celebration of the many uses of the sago, from the bark (used for walls and floors), the fronds (used in thatched roofing) to the pulp (processed and eaten in place of rice). During this festival, exhibitions are held, and government departments also join in the festival, for example, the forestry, agricultural departments and Sabah Tourism, as well as other private companies and vendors.
Kaamatan (Harvest Festival)
Annually, end of April/early May
May is the month of the Harvest Festival in Sabah, celebrated by the Kadazandusun ethnic group who are traditionally padi planters.
Kuala Penyu is normally one of the first districts to hold the festival at district level. During this time, traditional dances, exhibitions, sports, recreational and traditional food competitions are held. Many vendors also set up stalls to sell their wares.
The main attraction is the selection of the district level beauty queen who represents the district at the state level competition.
The festival culminates on the 31st of May (the 30th and 31st May are Sabah public holidays) at the Cultural Center in the Penampang district with the selection of a Kadazandusun beauty to reign for a year.
Odou Bakanjar (Bakanjar Day)
Annually, Chinese New Year period
This is an annual event organised by the Kuala Penyu District Office and the Sabah Cultural Board which is responsible for the preservation of the various ethnic cultures in Sabah.
The traditions of the Dusun Tatana community of Kuala Penyu are showcased during this weekend-long event. This includes food and drinks, traditional dances and gong beats.
Several traditional rituals including Barasik, Moginum (for the healing of a sick person, thanksgiving, to honour dead relatives), and Momiliu (bringing ancestral offerings at one’s attic) are also enacted during this event (source: Sabah Cultural Board)
Weekly, from Monday noon to Tuesday noon
The tamu is a weekly affair where sellers and buyers meet.
This is where the freshest prawns, fish, crabs and other seafood are sold, where the catches may have been just that morning itself. Fresh vegetables, including those that are traditionally eaten, like bamboo, oil palm and coconut shoots are sold here,
Other things sold range from fresh fruit, local cakes, clothes, shoes, bags, gadgets, trinkets, potted plants etc.
YouTube links for more information:
Odou Bakanjar (ethnic traditions):
Traditional dances :
Tatana songs :