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Tamparuli Sabah - A place to visit

Tamparuli Sabah was known as an old town rich with cultural value and fascinating places. The town located in the middle of Tuaran District, 36KM from the main city of Kota Kinabalu, easy to be found and a lot of surprises waiting for the visitors. The visitor will be fascinated with The Extreme Para Gliding Sport, The legendary of “Bukit Perahu”, Hatob-hatob Waterfall, Hanging Bridge and The Old Suspension Bridge Made by the British in the early 50s, The one and only "The Upside House Of Borneo" and Chantek Borneo Gallery if you visit Tamparuli Sabah. ( Please read more inside this website). For local tourist who likes to travel outside Malaysia, you can e-mail to D7tours and Travel Co through Harry.george@gmail.com. For International tourist who wish to visit Sabah The Land Below The Wind, you can e-mail or call to our correspondent travel agency:

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D7-TRAVEL AND TOURS-Registered Travel and Tours Co
IGNATIUS@ BOP JUANIS
H/p: 016-8121702

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MYTRONEXUS

Bobohizan

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Looking at origins of the Bobohizan 
By: Tan Sri Panglima Herman Luping 

THE Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) communities do not have a written language of their own.
Their stories or legends were passed down by words of mouth from generation to generation. They have many stories or legends about themselves, and in this article I want to write about the legend of the Bobohizan. We have just finished celebrating a very successful Tadau Kaamatan festival and witnessed Bobohizan from Tampasuk performing the Magavau ceremony.

The Bobohizan (priest/priestess) are the group or the third institution of the Kadazandusun form of village governments in the old days. The first institution is the Orang Tua system and the second is the Village Elders (Council).

The fourth institution was the Huguan Siou institution which is believed to be the last institution established and became prevalent during the Brunei Overlords.

But the legend of the Bobohizan or religious group started with the first Kadazandusun Murut "mother" known as Suminundu. She was the wife of Kingaan the first ancestor. Kingaan and Suminundu came out from a boulder that had rolled down from Nabahu and settled at Tompios - known as Nunuk Ragang.

They were semi-divine and had supernatural powers.

Long after their passing to Hibabou (Heaven) the Bobohizan's prayers or incantations( Inaait or rinait in KD) were forgotten and got lost in the mist of time.

But then, Suminundu sent down someone to earth to teach the people about the "rinait" or incantations of the Bobohizan. According to the story written by Rev. Fr. Anthonissan, the Rector of St. Michael's Church Penampang, during the Colonial days, he collected stories told to him by Kadazan elders of Penampang.

One of these stories is about how a spirit sent from "Hibabou" to earth.

The spirit came every evening and called on anyone who can hear to come forward.

This call was repeated several months and later years but no one was brave enough to come forward to meet the spirit, until one brave woman went out to meet the spirit in the dark.

The spirit told the woman that it was sent to earth from "Hibabou" to teach the Kadazan the "rinait" of the Bobohizan of the past. The spirit told the woman that she had to come and meet him every evening on the same spot until she learned the "rinait".

Thus, it was that the "rinait" prayers was learnt by heart by a woman who in turn passed the "rinait" to other women in the village. According to the legend, as it was a woman who came to meet the spirit teacher, all Bobohizan in Penampang was therefore women only.

Over a period of time, as the people in the district increased in numbers, the "rinait" tradition was made into two traditions. The first is known as the Kadazan tradition and the second is the Tangaah tradition. The "rinait" in both traditions are virtually the same including the procedures to be followed, but what differs is the type of clothing or attire they used. It is said that the Kadazan tradition and the Tangaah tradition both recite the creation of the world as part of their "rinait" but what differs is the type of canoes or perahu they used when transporting the spirit of the dead to cross the river to get to "Hibabou".

The spirit of the dead apparently goes through seven hills, dales and rivers before reaching "Hibabou".

The Kadazan tradition is so called because this tradition used the term Kadazan in its "rinait".

And Kadazan means "the people" and that this term was in used during the time of Kingaan and Suminundu in Nunuk Ragang.

The Tangaah tradition meanwhile, although using the same language, refers to the "rinait" of that of the Tangaah tradition meaning the tribe called Tangaah of Penampang.

The Bobohizan attire as well as the props used during the ceremony have been handed down to them from the ancestors who came from Taiwan and and to the Philippines.

Based on the scientific test on the origin of the Kadazandusun people the attire of the Kadazandusun people, especially the Kadazandusun Bobohizan as well as the trinkets they used have come down from a tribe known as the "Inggorots" in the Philippines.

And the origin of this tribe is from southern China. This scientific theory about the origin of the KDM is known as the "wave theory", because they travelled across the seas.

There is a lot of custom and tradition associated with the attire and the props such as the swords, kombuongoh leaves and the headgear worn by the Bobohizan.

The touching of this Bobohizan props especially the headgear was taboo tradition had it then that only the Bobohizan was allowed to touch these props, especially the headgears.

Before it is worn in a ceremony, special "rinait" was conducted to appease the spirit.

In time past, the newly arrived religious group such as the Christian clerics regarded the ceremony conducted by the Bobohizan during harvest festival (moginakan), planting, and also during a time when someone is sick in the village and the Bobohizan was called to conduct a ceremony to help the sick person recovers quickly from the influence of a bad spirit, the newly arrived religious clerics called the work of the Bobohizan as the work of the mammon.

When Christianity became established firmly in Penampang over a long period of time, however, I remember replicas of the headgears worn by the Bobohizan were used during the Feast of Corpus Christi ( or Feast of Christ the King and Kadazan it was known as "Mamanau Kampung. It was so called because the procession went round the village.

The procession started from the church and went round the village with the priest walking at centre stage under the specially built canopy.

The canopy had four posters and four strong men carried the canopy.

And accompanying the priest were boys and girls in fine uniforms.

A group of young boys dressed in Kadazan costumes preceded the canopy and immediately ahead of the procession are four women dressed in Kadazan costume completely with the replica of the Bobohizan headgear.

The "taboo" associated with the prohibition of touching the Bobohizan headgears seems forgotten.

I asked about this and was told that replicas of the headgears were allowed to be worn by non-Bobohizan with the permission of the Bobohizan themselves.

Perhaps the more cogent explanation is that most Kadazan in Penampang had converted to Christianity and even many of the Bobohizan also converted to Christianity.

Today, young girls and boys performing at the Kaamatan Festival at the KDCA are seen using the replicas of the Bobohizan headgears. Some of the KDM elders have raised their eyebrows at seeing this apparent "blatant" disregard and disrespect of KDM's age-old custom and belief in respect of the Bobohizan props and headgears at public function.

But I am told that there is no disrespect to tradition and custom intended.

The intention is to show case the KDM fine and traditional costumes as more and more visitors from abroad are also guests at these public functions Each district has its own distinctive Bobohizan Magavau rituals.

But the essence of the Magavau ceremony is shared by all suku or tribes - whether the Magavau tradition is conducted by Bobohizan from Tampasuk, Kota Belud, Tuaran, Matunggung, Papar or Penampang - and that is a call for Bambaazon, the spirit of Humindun, who has become the spirit of the padi to come and take part in the festivities.

Daily Express.
Image: Google Image


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