State Culture, Tourism and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said:
"Obviously the natives living nearest to the mountain are Dusun Ranau, the Bajau, Ubians and Dusun Tindal of Kota Belud, Dusun Lotud of Tuaran, Dusun Rungus of Kudat and even the Murut Nabai in interior Sabah have a tradition that somehow has something to do with Mt Kinabalu."
"Fascination and awe with which they looked upon Mt Kinabalu had influenced the lives of these peoples and crafted beliefs steeped in their traditions and cultures which had somehow become part and parcels of some religious beliefs," he noted.
"Many of the Kinabalu inspired spirits-centric rituals and beliefs had become so entrenched that even with those who had acquired formal religious belief like Christianity and Islam somehow managed to strike a fine balance with their animistic past," he told a press conference.
Masidi, himself a Muslim Dusun Ranau, was heard speaking his Dusun mother tongue after the press conference.
"What I am trying to say is they may be Christians, they may be Muslims but somewhere, somehow, Mt Kinabalu forged a place in their religious belief which may not be in the Koran or the Bible but, nevertheless, to these people, they are part and parcel of a belief in a super being somewhere up there looking down and looking after us," Masidi explained.
Aki Kinabalu will therefore showcase "the link between these ancestral tribes and Mt Kinabalu some of their more well-known cultural dances that have both religious and ritualistic elements," he added, citing among others the Monolob (Dusun Ranau) ritual to appease the spirits of the mountain, the humabot (the Penampang Kadazan ritual to summon the Bambaazan or spirits of the rice), the Mogimbadi (a tamu inspired the joint Bajau-Dusun Tindal joint performance), the Molukas (the Dusun Lotud house warming ritual) and the Mansilad (a peace-making ritual of the Murut Nabai.
"But Sabah Fest is not just one main show, there are important side shows done inside and outside the JKKN Sabah (National Department for Culture and Arts Centre Sabah) where everyone is welcomed to visit the craft makers, artisans, musicians, artists from all over Sabah, souvenir shops," he said.
"Since this is Visit Malaysia Year 2014, there will be pocket shows in all the shopping complexes to showcase snap shots of the richness of our cultures, the whole idea of which is we assume there will be tourists around in malls and we take that opportunity to showcase what we have in collaboration with owners of the malls," Masidi said.
Tickets are being sold at Sri Pelancongan Office, Kg Air and also will be sold at the JKKN Sabah show venue, Jalan Penampang.
The shows start at 8pm. Interested public can contact Susan Shahira at tel. 088-232121, fax 088-265540 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or website www.sabahfest.com