Independence Day (Merdeka Day) is the official national day of Malaysia. It commemorates the Malayan Declaration of Independence on 31 August 1957, to mark the day Malaysia is free from British colonial administration.
This year’s Independence Day is the 63rd anniversary. ‘Malaysia Prihatin ‘ (Malaysia Cares) has been chosen as the theme for this year’s Independence Day. The theme was chosen in recognition of the caring, determined and patient nature of Malaysians in facing trials and tribulations presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. ‘Malaysia’ carried the meaning that every Malaysian is together with the government, while the government caring nature in prioritizing the welfare of the people is shown through its ‘Prihatin’.
Facing a pandemic is not easy, it needs unity. We are united to push our differences aside and do the right thing regardless of the races. Unity is the thing that put us together despite the things that are happening now. That is what ‘Malaysia Prihatin’ is based on.
Usually, we will celebrate this historic day from the beginning of August. The month of August is also known as the National Month. Various programs and national competitions were held to inspire the spirit of patriotism and love for the country, such as national speech competition, Merdeka poetry contest, National storytelling competition and photography competition. There are also neighbourhood decorating competitions. We will hang and decorate our homes and vehicles with flags. We can also see flags and decorations all over the country. Almost every place and every building will be decorated by Malaysia’s flag.
Most of Malaysian will gather at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 31st. Dataran Merdeka has been a popular venue for the annual Merdeka Parade. We can watch the parade of decorated cars, Royal inspection, flags raising, Rukun Negara recitation and cultural and patriotic performances.
Merdeka Day is declared as a public holiday, and this year it falls on a Monday. So, it will be a three-day holiday (weekend +Monday) for most of us. Some of us will use this long holiday to spend some quality time with family and their loved one by planning activities like picnics, family gatherings and any family-related activities. However, due to some restrictions related to Covid-19, some people prefer to just stay at home and watch the Merdeka celebration on TV.