First, there was nothing but
Kinoingan and Sumundu . Together, they created man and the universe,
the earth, and everything seen and unseen, known and unknown.
In the beginning, all was well in the Heavens, and the world was
pure and beautiful. But one day, Ponompulan, Kinoingan’s son,
rebelled against his divine father, and he corrupted the hearts and
minds of the humans on earth.
Disappointed and angry, Kinoingan banished Ponompulan from the
Heavens and cast him to Kolungkud . Then, to punish mankind for
their sinful ways, Kinoingan sent seven plagues. The last plague was
a severe draught, and famine threatened to destroy every living
being on earth.
But at last, the people on earth realised their sin, and turned back
to Kinoingan, to ask for forgiveness. Ponompuan, Kinoingan’s only
daughter, entreated her father’s mercy to forgive the people of the
world and consented to Kinoingan's proposal that she be sacrificed,
as a symbol of the greatest love of all.
Kinoingan sacrificed His only daughter so that the people could have
food. Her body parts were planted as seeds and became the food
resource of the world: rice. Ponompuan’s spirit dwells in the paddy,
and is the seven-in-one Bambaazon (Bambarayon), the spirit of the
paddy. Red rice is the most sacred of all, because it was from the
flesh of Ponompuan.
Ponompuan, who is often called Huminodun, is in essence the soul of
the paddy. During harvesting time, the Bobohizans (Bobolians) usher
the seven-in-one soul of Bambaazon to dwell in the Tangkob (Toguruon),
at home, until the next planting season is due.
Bambaazon is embodied in every part of the paddy and its related
products. During the course of its seasons it is inevitable that the
paddy is damaged, be it naturally, unintentionally, innocently or
through abuse and neglect. Also, during the harvest itself, parts of
the spiritual components of Bambaazon are separated. Thus, it is of
utmost importance that immediately after the harvest Bambaazon’s
dispersed mystical spirits are collected by the spiritual
specialists, brought home, re-united, healed and appeased.
The Bobohizans perform the Magavau, Modsuut and Humabot Ceremonies,
travelling though the different levels of the spiritual world to
rescue the severed and strayed Bambaazon. Whole again, Bambaazon
will ensure that the next harvest is equally bountiful.
To thank Kinoingan for Bambaazon’s gift of a good harvest, the Pesta
Ka’amatan (Harvest Festival) is held. The Kadazans forgive each
other, restore and strengthen peace and harmony – not only on a
worldly level, but also between nature and the spiritual world – and
play the gongs, sing songs and dance to the ancient rhythm of life.
To commemorate the greatest love of all, Kinoingan’s sacrifice of
His only daughter, the Kadazans idolise Huminodun and select the
Unduk Ngadau (lit: zenith of the sun; Harvest Beauty Queen) in order
to remember that Ponompuan was perfect: she was of total beauty of
the heart, mind soul and body.