The KadazanDusun is the biggest ethnic in Sabah formed by two main tribes that are the Kadazan and the Dusun. Due to similarity of language and culture a new terminology, KadazanDusun, was established to unify them.
KOPOGIADAN OR CRYING/MOURNING BEFORE A BURIAL
Kopogiadan means crying that begins with a death and continues for seven days until the cleansing ceremony ends.
The corpse is placed in the house front room and the deceased personal belongings are placed at the corpse side. Relatives and villagers come to give their last respects. All this while the eldest daughter and the deceased partner sit beside the coffin in sadness. In the morning of the third day all visitors weep and mourn upon the deceased departure. The deceased partner, their children, sons and daughters-in-law as well as grandchildren grasp the deceased hands to signify separation. The coffin is then closed without being locked and lifted by male relatives to the cemetery.
If the deceased is a Christian all family members go to the church first for the requiem mass. The procession is accompanied by gong beating in the dunsai rhythm. During the ceremony the coffin lid is lifted so that relatives and friends of the deceased can see him for the last time. Then the audience accompanies the deceased to the cemetery, including the deceased partner and women relatives.
The mourning custom of the KadazanDusun that live by the sea side is the same as those that live in the interior. However, they have other culture influences like the Chinese custom. In the districts of Penampang and Tambunan for example, the mourners have to wear black attire and are forbidden from putting on make-up or wearing jewelry. The deceased partner is required to sit in the middle of the house and forbidden to leave the house or enter other people house or speak to anybody for the first seven days after a death. Chicken and pig are slaughtered on the first day of death followed by a caribou on the second or third day. If there is no slaughtering of caribou then the dunsai is not played.
KAPAMAHABANGAN (THE BURIAL CEREMONY)
The burial ceremony normally is held until midday. According to tradition in the district of Tambunan, women and children are forbidden from going to the cemetery especially if the deceased is the husband or their father. It is believed that tombiruo (the deceased spirit) will stick onto them thereby disturbing their families. Today, the Christians do not fully adhere to this practice. However, mothers with toddlers normally do not visit the cemetery.
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