Among all the food crops given by Kinoingan, rice became the Kadazandusun staple food. The life of the Kadazandusuns also became centered on rice cultivation and thus there developed special reverence towards Bambarayon.
According to Bobolian Miada Gumarong of Minawoh Keningau, the word Bambarayon is an old terminology within the Rinaits and is a combination of three words Bamban, Barayo and Rayong.
Literally, bamban means, “cover” of any container, barayo means “divide and share” and rayong means “appearance in great number”.
In deeper symbolic context, bamban refers to an unlimited resource that fills to the brim any space or container. It satisfies any form of need and completes any form of incompleteness.
Barayo refers to a diversity resource with unlimited transformative capacities, just as the body parts of Huminodun gave rise to the food resources of the world.
Rayong refers to a diversity resource with active multiple re-generation.
Bambarayon in a way is thus also a qualitative descriptive name of Huminodun, the sacrificed Daughter of Kinoingan (God) who is at times revered and worshipped as the Goddess of fertility and propserity. She is the ultimate symbol of beauty, integrity, and sacrificial love.
Bambarayon is believed to be responsible for the growth and well being of the paddy plant, protecting it from all sorts of hazards and preys, thus effecting a positive yield. However, the positive yield of the paddy plants is also dependent upon farmers’ sincerity and dedication in their cultivation of paddy, and upon their generosity in sharing a good harvest with others and especially with the less fortunate ones. Thus mere presence of Bambarayon in the paddy plant will not itself guarantee a good harvest.
It is further believed that Bambarayon is embodied in all forms and parts of the paddy, in the green paddy plants, in unhusked paddy grains, in yeast and uncooked rice or in readily consumable forms such as tapai (rice wine), porridge and served rice.
Among the popular rice varieties that have been nurtured by the Kadazandusun communities are locally known as Tadong, Guabon, Pulut, Linsayan, Kundinga, Likad and Pikoron.
Bobolians have also related that when humans consume rice, the Bambarayons in the rice is enabled to become one with the consumers’ Koduduo (the soul-spirit of a living person).
Bambarayon, being a specific shred of divine Ponompuan’s (Huminodun) spirit, is conceived to be pure and free from the corruptive evils of this world. It is human responsibility therefore to be pure in mind, heart, spirit and body in order to deserve best the nourishment from Bambarayon. Thus to the undeserving, eating rice can even cause physical illness, mental dullness and weakness of will.
Once Bambarayon becomes one with the human Koduduo, it assumes its new roles and responsibilities in looking after the growth and well being of the human body, mind and spirit; and his words, thoughts and actions. Bambarayon’s union with the human Koduduo therefore positively affects human health and productivity.
To the Kadazandusuns, the paddy is not only their staple food, but also a sacred plant that embodies Ponompuan/Huminodun/Bambarayon, the living symbol of Kinoingan’s loving care and providence for them. It is therefore considered unbecoming and an offence to the Huminodun/Bambarayon and indirectly Kinoingan for anyone to harm the paddy plant in its growth stage; to waste paddy grains during harvesting, threshing, winnowing or transportation. Left over and fallen rice during meals, is best treated if carefully gathered and fed to home pets, poultry, pigs or fish in the ponds.
It is normal to see and hear the Bobolians mumbling prayers as they stroke gently the paddy plants in the fields to appease Bambarayon for the harm done to them, may be by the senseless buffalo or even by innocent acts of children.