Hari Kemerdekaan, more commonly known as Merdeka Day (Merdeka meaning ‘independence’ or ‘freedom’ in Bahasa Melayu), is the national day of Malaysia, when Malaysian’s from all backgrounds, heritage and religions join together to celebrate the birth of their nation. It is celebrated on August 31st each year and marks the end of British Colonial Rule of the Federation of Malaya.
The date chosen is the date that Malaysia was officially formed in 1963, however, Sabah and Sarawak were not yet a part of Malaysia and therefore, many believe that the date should be changed in recognition of this.
Every year, a grand ceremony is held at Merdeka Square in central KL and is attended by thousands keen to express their patriotism. Flags line the streets and are hung from windows, balconies and vehicles.There are parades and performances, military displays, colourful costumes worn and traditional dance and music to be seen, all culminating in an impressive fireworks display once evening falls.
Each year a theme is chosen for the festivities; for 2014 this will be “Malaysia, Disini Lahirnya Sebuah Cinta” (“Malaysia, Where Love Grows”).
This year, celebrations will be toned down in respect for the victims of the MH17 tragedy. The fireworks display has been cancelled, however, the parade will go ahead.