A Day That Commemorates a History Moment in Malaysia’s History
Malaysia’s National Day public holiday falls on 31 August annually and it is a day to commemorate the day Malaysia gained its independence.
What Is National Day in Malaysia About?
Until 31 August 1957, Malaysia was under the rule of the British Empire. National Day is also known as Merdeka Day or Hari Merdeka by the locals. No Independence Day celebration would be complete without the word “Merdeka!” exclaimed joyously seven times. This gesture was initiated by Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman when he uttered “Merdeka!” seven times at Dataran Merdeka.
It is a day that strikes a chord in the hearts of many Malaysians. The entire nation and every race come together as one to celebrate this historic day. Even though the public holiday is only one day in August, the excitement and celebration start building up to this moment from the beginning of August itself.
How Is National Day Celebrated in Malaysia?
The entire month of August is known as the Merdeka month. Displays of patriotism will be evident all over Malaysia as the locals express their love for the country. Miniature versions of the Malaysia flag stuck on vehicles are a common sight during this time of the month. It is also not unusual to see the Jalur Gemilang (Malaysia’s flag) hanging from the balcony of homes or inside shops. The flag will be everywhere with most government building and shopping malls hoisting the flag above their buildings.
The build-up and excitement leading up to 31 August are palpable. It is a day that Malaysians celebrate with joy and pride. Competitions and parades will be held on the day at the Dataran Merdeka and the streets of Kuala Lumpur. School children prepare and practice performances that will be presented on the day itself.
Each year the country has a special theme for its Independence Day. Some of the themes of the past include My Glorious Malaysia, Transforming the Nation, 1Malaysia, and 55 Years of Independence: Promises Fulfilled. The chosen themes are meant to reflect how far the country has come since that historic day in 1957 and to remind all Malaysians of the sacrifices our forefathers made for the country to be where it is today.
What to Do During National Day in Malaysia?
All schools and most offices in Malaysia will be closed on this day as with every other public holiday. If you happen to be in the country, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the Merdeka Day parade. Happening right in the heart of the city at Dataran Merdeka, it is quite a sight to behold. Parades, flag-waving and fireworks are just the starts.
Throughout Malaysia, every city would have their own local celebrations. If you’re in the capital city, then the Merdeka Parade is something you don’t want to miss. Royal processions, military demonstrations, cultural performances, sporting events and floats that have been meticulously and carefully decorated add to the excitement of the celebration.