Perhaps the most feared tribe on the list, the Murut tribe were the last tribe to renounce headhunting practices. This was to instil fear amongst the other tribes as back in the days it was important to display ferociousness to avoid invasion by other tribes. Skulls of their slain enemies were displayed at the entrance of the village to deter other tribes member from entering.
Besides deterring the enemies, the skulls were used to display their masculinity. It was important for a Murut man to have as many skulls as possible to protect his reputation. A Murut woman will select her mate based on the number of skulls presented to her family in order to get their blessings. After the British colonisation, many of the local tribes converted to Christianity. An anti head hunting legislation was passed which banned the practice.
The most important festive celebration in Kota Kinabalu is the Kaamatan Festival or Harvest Festival celebrated by the Kadazan Dusun. Kadazan Dusun is the combination of two tribes, Kadazan tribe and Dusun tribe. They believe in honouring Huminodun, the spirit of a maiden who sacrificed herself in order to give the bountiful harvest.
Kaamatan falls in May, and even though only the last two days of the month are holidays, the people of Sabah celebrate it throughout the entire month. In this festival, a beauty pageant for native girls known as Unduk Ngadau is held to commemorate the spirit of Huminodun. It is the most important beauty pageant in the state of Sabah. The Kadazan Dusun tribe is the largest tribe in the whole of Sabah and is the most common ethnicity here. Majority of them are Christians but there’s a growing number of Muslim Kadazan in the recent years.
Unlike most other tribes in Sabah who relied heavily on farming, the Lundayeh people were also hunters and fishermen. They were known to be heavy drinkers and lived unhealthily. Majority of them neglected their health and were susceptible to diseases. A smallpox outbreak in between 1904 and 1905 almost wiped out the entire population of Lundayeh from 20,000 to 3000. It was one of the largest death tolls caused by a viral epidemic. Due to this dark history, many Lundayehs still consider it a taboo to talk about this history.
The Bajau people are famously known as sea gypsies because they live on water and rarely step foot on land. Semporna has the largest number of Bajau people in Sabah. What makes their culture so fascinating is that they live above the sea in stilt houses. Naturally, they live off the sea which has help them to develop exceptional diving skills. Many sea gypsies claim to have the ability to hold their breath underwater for more than 5 minutes. On top of that, they are adept at spearfishing. In order to keep cool, these sea gypsies slather mud or seaweed on their faces.
In recent years, tourism in Semporna boomed and tourists flock there to get a glimpse of the Sea gypsies. As a result, the sea gypsies started going on land frequently to sell their catch to the tourists for a lower price than the market. By doing this, many sea gypsies are able to improve the quality of their life.
In the older days, Rungus was a subgroup of the Kadaza ethnic but they have since renounced their ties with Kadazan tribe. They are most well known for living in a longhouse with as many as 70 families residing in one, with each family taking up one room. Nowadays modern longhouses do not house more than 10 families. Mostly found in the northern part of Sabah, their culture revolves heavily around rice.
Like the other ethnic tribes in Sabah, Rungus are superstitious and believe in witchcraft. A Bobolizan is a witch doctor with the ability to communicate with the dead. The Rungus people believe that a Bobolizan has the ability to cure illnesses and bring prosperity through spiritual rituals. Nowadays many Rungus people have assimilated into modern society and renounced their spiritual beliefs.
据记载，龙古斯是迷信巫术的族群。他们相信先人有着与死灵沟通的能力，透过咒语治病。但如今 ，许多 人已经融入社会，不再深信巫术之说了。