Helicopter flyover during Merdeka Day celebrations. Phalinn Ooi / Creative
In 1957, Malaysia's first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman intoned the words “Merdeka!” (Freedom!) three times before a crowd of dignitaries and citizens at the Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.
Over half a century later, the masses still gather at Dataran Merdeka on the anniversary of the Tunku's momentous declaration of independence from British rule. Every August 31, the Merdeka Day Parade unfolds as Malaysians demonstrate their civic and cultural pride in being part of one of Southeast Asia's strongest nations.
Before Malaysia's Prime Minister and elected King (Yang Di-Pertuan Agong), organized marches of soldiers, civil servants, artists, dancers and other citizens parade down the promenade, with the historic Sultan Abdul Samad Building as a colorful backdrop. Over 13,000 participants are expected to watch the parade, witnessing dancers from Malaysia's many cultures alongside battalions showing off the latest military hardware.
Other independence-related activities take place around the city during this time, including (but not limited to) video competitions, firework displays, and concerts. Everywhere you look, the Jalur Gemilang (national flag) flutters proudly to mark the season.
Merdeka Square during Merdeka Day celebrations. Cecil Lee / Creative Commons
Merdeka Day celebrations. amrufm / Creative
For other sports-heavy Southeast Asia celebrations, check out the MotoGP, also in Malaysia; and the Vietnam Elephant Race Festival. For other festivals in the month of August, visit the Philippines' Kadayawan Festival, Indonesia's Jember Fashion Carnival and Malaysia's Merdeka Day Celebrations.
Every August 31, the Merdeka Day Parade unfolds in front of the historic Dataran Merdeka, demonstrating Malaysians' civic...
What You'll Get On this 17-day, 16-night tour, you'll journey through Thailand and Laos and sample from their dive...VIEW DETAILS
Tour works its way from hyper-modern Singapore to charmingly laid-back Cambodia – with all these contrasts, you'll ...VIEW DETAILS
Tour runs the gamut, from Yangon's gold-topped urban chaos to the Mergui Archipelago's pristine marine seascapes to K...VIEW DETAILS
Boasting glorious views of the South China Sea, Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & SpaVIEW DETAILS
Experience picturesque Chiang Mai in an exclusive hot air balloon ride, paired with a romantic champagne breakfast.VIEW DETAILS
Escape into luxurious tranquility in the tropics.VIEW DETAILS
Go on an epic Asean journey with AirAsia Asean Pass, a travel pass that allows you to book our base fares at least 14 days or...VIEW DETAILS
Rent a car for 2 days or more at participating locations in Asia and enjoy up to 15% offVIEW DETAILS
“A Tale of 2 Cities” begins with Bay Hotels & Resorts’ 333-room Bay Hotel Singapore, the largest execut...VIEW DETAILS
Premier Getaway Package @ SGD 290 nett (includes complimentary breakfast and dinner for 2, small bottle of wine, 1 Premi...VIEW DETAILS
Conveniently situated in the shopping, arts and cultural district of the Lion City, the newly minted Mercure Singapore Bugis ...VIEW DETAILS