Sabah follows the same religious and ethnic festivals as the rest of
Malaysia though it does hold a few of itís own that are unique to the
area. The most popular of these is the Pesta
Kaamatan or harvest festival celebrated in May
by the Kadazan and Dusun tribes. This is a good time to watch
traditional performances and experience different taste sensations
with the many different dishes that are prepared at the time of the
festival. Other interesting festivals are those of Chinese New Year
and hari Priya
New Year (January/February) This
is a joyous time
when friends and relatives give each other "angpows" - red packets
with a gift of cash as a token of prosperity and celebrate with feasts
and lion dances to ward off evil spirits and usher in the lunar new
year. Family reunion dinners are a must among Chinese on the eve of
the new year.
Kinabalu Mountain Bike Challenge
(April or May)
Over 30 colourful ethnic communities will gather with their gongs and
flamboyant dancing skills in Kota Kinabalu to showcase Sabah's rich
cultural heritage. Exotic village handicrafts immaculately made with
fine handiwork will be available for sale during this occasion.
Harvest Festival Regatta
(April or May)
Patterns and Colours of Sabah
(mid May to mid
June) This is an annual exhibition
featuring paintings and handicrafts of Sabah.
Sabah Dragon Boat Race (June)
Local and international teams pit their skills and energy against one
another for top honours. Join thousands to watch the action from the
shore of scenic Likas Bay and cheer for your favourite Dragon Boat
Held over a period of one week with more than 12 races to determine
the champion/s in different classes of boats. The race is to
commemorate Malaysia's Independence Day. Sailors from all over the
world are invited to take part in the weeklong competition.
National Day (31 August)
celebrates it's independence on 31 August with parades and shows.
Towns and cities throughout Malaysia will be gaily decorated and
adorned with lights for the grand occasion.
Pesta Kelapa (September)
A popular annual event in Kudat with lots of fun games and
contests, and it also features the vast variety of the coconut
species. Catch the interesting exhibition featuring all coconut-made
Malaysia Fest (September) For
two weeks, all the major hotels and shopping complexes join forces to
feature the culture, cuisine and handicrafts of the various states in
The "Festival of
Lights" is a celebration which marks the triumph of good over evil.
During this festival, Hindu homes are emblazoned with lights to
symbolize this triump
Kiulu 4M Challenge (November)
Come witness this traditional endurance event! Four kinds of
indigenous sports cum survival skills of the natives are tested. In
the Kadazandusun language, the 4M stand for Manangkus (running),
Mamangkar (bamboo rafting), Manampatau (swimming with a piece of
bamboo as float), and Mamarampanau (walking on bamboo stilts).
Racing Regatta (November) Teams from all over
the world are invited to match their skills against one another in a
knock out, one against one duel. The winner will be decided by the
most number of wins in the knock out series.
Christmas (25 December)
by Christians similar to any other part of the world. Midnight
services are held at churches on Christmas eve. Shopping centres,
hotels, old folks homes and children's homes echo with beautiful
carols. The revelry and yuletide spirit of Christmas is enjoyed by
Christians and non-Christians alike.
Hari Raya Aidil Fitri
is celebrated by Muslims after the month-long Ramadan (fasting month).
Muslims usher in the new year with prayers in the mosques followed by
receiving well-wishers in their homes.