What is Sarawak Day in Malaysia All About?
In the mid-20th century, British control in Southeast Asia was slowly coming to an end. The British governor by then Alexander Waddell was preparing the declaration of independence, and on 22nd July 1963, Sarawak attained self-independence. Events that followed decades later saw Sarawak day a public holiday in 2016 by the late Sarawak chief minister Tan Sri Pehin Sri Haji.
Ever since the resident commemorates the day when the region after cessation from the British rule, before the British’s ceremony of independence, Sarawak had its mandate with an expectation to form the Federation of Malaysia, the then British governor left the Astana en route to Sarawak on a white sampan across river Sarawak. It is at this point that Alexander Waddell hands the citizens of Sarawak their independence.
Things to Do During Sarawak Day in Malaysia
As you pay a visit to Sarawak, have a chance to meet the Iban warrior and witness them performing in the musical festival. Within the rich Sarawak culture, you can stroll through their traditional houses, take memorable photos, and learn about their culture.
If you love trekking through the jungle or eco-retreat, Lambir Hills National Park is the place to go. Here you’ll meet a diversity of flora and fauna and take strenuous climbs up to the peak of Lambir Hills. Borneo presents you with the rare species of an orangutan at the rescued centre and Sabah’s renowned Sepilok.
Imagine having a groove in the middle of the rainforest jungle. As you celebrate Sarawak day, join the artists and musicians coming from around Borneo Island and Malaysia. The festival will usher in the rendition of traditional instruments from across the world and folk songs.
Again, the jungle festival experience, which may last three days, will present to you dance classes and workshops to traditional tunes.
How Sarawak Day in Malaysia is Celebrated
After the gazettement of the date of independence, the day culminated into a public holiday full of activities. The public holiday sees the celebration of large scale with events beginning a few days or even weeks before the day. Previously, the federal-state had futsal tournaments, ceremonies in worship places, and mini-concerts by resident artists to commemorate the date.
Typical thousands of citizens gather at Padang Merdeka to enjoy dance and drama performances for the main event. This will see the raising of the flag and speeches from prominent people in the political divide. Then follows the local exhibition of historical artefacts, tradition, and heritage from Sarawak’s past.
Each year the celebration has a particular theme for residence to observe. Take the theme of 2019, for example, ‘Sarawak Cemerlang’ (Glorious Sarawak) that residents celebrated with honour.
Venues and Special Events for Celebrating Sarawak Day in Malaysia
Sarawak is a unique state comprising different ethnic communities. This means when visiting the place, you’ll experience a blend of diverse cultures, languages, food, and traditions. While here, you can decide to celebrate Sarawak day in your own style by visiting several venues.
The Kuching Waterfront is one place that has a history, where residents enjoy the beautiful landscape along the river Sarawak. If you like the sight of art and crafts from the past, the Old Sarawak Museum is the place to visit.
Are you planning to have a kitty souvenir? The cat museum is where you need to pass by and enjoy a look at the exhibition and photos of all the cats and other gifts. The famous Astana, which is on the other side of the river, is Sarawak’s Head of State resident. The residence dates back to the 19th century, built by Charles Brooke, a British governor. You can call it a day by visiting the Friendship Garden in Tabuan Heights. The idea behind its construction was to symbolize the friendship between Malaysia and China. The ponds around this garden have koi fishes where you can feed them.