Dance is an important part of nearly every social event at the village level. It symbolizes the traditional peacefulness that exists among its inhabitants across the years. It is performed during the wedding ceremony, engagement parties, harvest festivals, first birthday of children, animistic religious ceremonies and also other associated events of importance to the community. Each ethnic group has its own recognizable musical and dance forms although there are many similarities and some of the major instruments are common to all. Each piece of instrument is normally lovingly crafted, cut, shaped and tested. Distinction is always found in different combinations of instruments, varying dance styles, tempos, and tunings. There are also a few instruments found only within the limits of a solitary community and not shared with other communities.
The people of Borneo have lived in and out the jungle for generations. Shelter and clothing came from the jungle. The food was hunted in the jungle and planted in clearings which reverted to the wild after a season. Skilled fingers fashioned jungle produce into each item of daily use, from the profane to sacred.Handicrafts in Borneo contain mostly of wood carvings, metalwork, basketry, beadwork, bamboo carvings, blowpipes, masks, textiles and floor mats. Many include the beliefs of tribal people and their way of life. The Iban pua kumbu (woven textile), wooden hornbill carvings used in rituals and silver jewelry are many looks for after items, as are the Penan and Murut blowpipes. The weekly tamu’s, village shops, and modern shopping malls have a lot of to offer the avid souvenir hunter of modern and antique handicrafts.
With numerous racial groups practicing a variation of religions, there is a multitude of festivals celebrated throughout the year. The primary religious celebrations of Hari Raya (at the end of the Muslim fasting month), Christmas, and also Chinese New Year are celebrated extensively. During these celebrations, many people hold an open house,a Malaysian tradition where the house is open to visitors who are invited to partake in the festivities of the host family.
7. Harvest Festival
One of the most anticipated native celebrations is the harvest festival celebrated by farming society throughout Malaysian Borneo, and especially by the Kadazan-Dusun of Sabah. Traditional dances, music, and food are the order of the day as hundreds of people in each village meet to join in the festivities. In Kota Kinabalu, the Harvest Festival is a big event, celebrated in the region of Penampang at the Kadazan-Dusun Cultural Association center. Photograph opportunities are plentiful as celebrants in traditional costumes and musicians make their appearance to add color and pizzazz to the occasion.
8. Cultural Villages
The Sarawak Cultural Village and Sabah Museum’s Heritage Village are good examples of the magnificent workmanship of the variety native groups of Borneo in building their traditional houses. Each house display the culture of a particular ethnic group. Traditional costumes, crafts, and musical instruments illustrate their unique lifestyle and tradition.
The traditional longhouse is a notable feature of racial Borneo. They are built raised off the ground on stilts and are divided into a more or less public area along one side and a row of individual living quarters lined along the other side. This seems to have been the method of building best accustomed to life in the jungle in the past. The Iban and Bidayuh peoples of Sarawak and the Murut and Rungus peoples of Sabah are familiar for welcoming visitors into their longhouses, and their warm reception.
10. Water Villages and Fishermen
For many local peoples, the primary source of protein in the diet was and still is from fishing. Many racial groups traditionally live in water villages (Kampung Air), which are houses built on stilts extending into the estuaries or sheltered seas, thus facilitating access to fishing.