ASTRONOMY AND RICE FARMING

Momolianism believes that Kinoingan uses the planets in the stellar space to communicate to human beings the changing moods of the planets, which indirectly affect the behavior of the world and its inhabitants. So they have learned to read the signs of the times by watching the position of the moon and the sighting of stars in relation to the good and bad times for their various daily, monthly and yearly life activities.The Kadazandusun’s Monthly Calendar, which incorporates Days of observances and abstinence from work, especially in relation to paddy farming depicts astronomy’s strong bearings upon human activities.

Before the advent of mechanized paddy farming which has currently enabled the double cropping system within a single year, the Kadazandusun farmers were guided by the moon and the stars in timing their work and rest days. Gundihong Amman Sirom Simbuna Tarantab, recalls that the best and proper time for planting the hill rice is when the “Muru-puru” (Orion) stars are sighted, usually around the middle of September.

Hill (dry) rice and wet rice cultivation can be so compatibly timed like what the industrious Tambunan folks, who practice both hill and wet rice farming and still maintain the general annual seasonal cycle of rice cultivation. After planting their hill rice, they devote themselves to wet rice planting, later enjoying harvest from the hill first followed by the harvest from the plain. By June of each year, the Walatik, is low in Eastern skies and the clearing of the jungle (hill rice plot) has to begin.

From late August to early October, all the three groups of stars (Muru-puru, Ro’oh and Walatik) are visible overhead all signaling the appropriate time for the planting or transplanting of rice. According to Gundohing Tohitok Kuda of Kg. Tombuluran Kudat, the Rungus farmers are signaled by three groups of stars regarding the best days for planting hill rice. These days are around August 20, when the Muru-puru stars are seen overhead, September 15, when the Ro-oh stars are seen overhead and October 10, when the Walatik stars are seen overhead. This timing is also confirmed by Gundohing Amman Sirom Simbuna of Kota Belud. In April, the Walatik is low in the Western skies and is time for harvesting.The month of May befittingly, is rest time for celebrating the Kaamatan Festival. It is not by chance or by simply being a resolution by the Kadazandusun Cultural Association’s (KDCA), that the month of May is the Kaamatan Festival Month. By the star signs and by the rice life cycle and season, May is the month of rest both for the people and the Bambarayon. It is the time for the re-union of Kinoingan’s (Huminodun’s) in-dwelling spirit in rice called Bambarayon with Sunduan, the in-dwelling spirit of Kinoingan in humanity.

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Muru-puru Ro'oh Walatik