What is Sarawak Governor’s Birthday in Malaysia All About?
In Malaysia, Sarawak is the largest state amongst the 13 states. The state’s ruler is a governor or “Yang di-Pertua Negeri”, who the King of Malaysia appoints. The citizen of Sarawak celebrates Sarawak Governor’s Birthday on the second Saturday in October. The date of the official celebration does not change with whoever is on leadership. The rulers in power saw it right to celebrate on those dates as it coincides with the 1st governor of Sarawak, Abang Haji Openg birthday. The first governor was born on 7th October 1905, marking the significance of the celebration dates.
The History of Sarawak State
Back in the mid-15th century, the Brunei Empire had the Sarawak region as part of its colonies. While approaching the late 19th century, the Brunei Empire’s control of Sarawak was on the decline. This led to frequent fights between the Dayak leaders and Sultan to take control of the state.
The Sultan of Brunei, later on, gave the British adventurer James Brooke the governorship of Sarawak as a sign of gratitude after helping him quell the Dayak revolt. The Supreme Head of Malaysia appointed the first governor after Sarawak was a self-governing state in 1963.
Things to Do During Sarawak Governor’s Birthday in Malaysia
You can visit the Jalan market for the foodie, an open-air market, and try traditional Malay and Chinese food. What you’re likely to have includes traditional beef noodles and Sio bi (juicy pork dumplings). Another exciting activity to do is Kayakinging on the Sarawak River. A visit to Annah Rais, some 100kms on the outskirts of Kuching, is a perfect way to celebrate Sarawak Governor’s Birthday. Here you can visit the longhouse and see how 500 residents have worked and lived for centuries during the public holiday.
By touring the Sarawak Islamic Museum, you’ll have a view of seven different galleries representing different periods of Islamic art. For you to mingle with nature and wildlife, visit the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, where you’ll see the orangutans, different bird species and reptiles.
The celebration will end perfectly after visiting the Kubah Ria Complex for some shopping before a rest at the nearest resort.
How Hari Hol Sarawak Governor’s Birthday in Malaysia is Celebrated
The Sarawak state hosts the Sarawak Governor’s Birthday at the Sibu Town Square. The ceremony attracts high-level officials in government and other dignitaries alongside members of the public. The colourful event opening ceremony begins with a word of prayer from religious leaders. The guard of honour accords the governor a royal salute. Then the governor inspects the guard of honours from the military parade.
It then follows the military forces’ marching with their armouries, the police, indigenous Sarawakian, and the private agencies. Local traditional dancers entertain those in attendance with songs and dances. The governor addresses the congregations with speeches of appreciation and prosperity of the state of Sarawak.
Venues and Special Events for Celebrating Sarawak Governor’s Birthday in Malaysia
The Capital Kuching is where you’d want to be when celebrating Sarawak Governor’s birthday. The Iban and the Dayaks are the indigenous people of Sarawak, where you’ll learn about their unique culture. When you’re around Kuching, you’ll notice statues of cats with a long history dating back to the colonial era.
You’ll meet Sarawak Cultural Village, a 35 minutes’ drive from the city, where live demonstrations from locals teach about ancient techniques. Take a tour to Astana or Palace in English, where you’ll get to see the iconic building dating back to 1890 during the reign of Charles Brooke—a British Rajah. Presently, it is the official home for the Governor of Sarawak.
In Malay, Kuching means cat, and if you take a few drives around, you’ll encounter the Cat museum, where you’ll learn about the cats’ cultural significance. The city has the Kuching Mosque, originally the State Mosque of Sarawak, with its pinkish and white splendour and a large golden dome that glints beneath the fierce Malaysian sun.