Malaysia Day is a holiday that’s often confused with Hari Merdeka, or Hari Kebangsaan, but the two holidays are very different from each other. Malaysia Day is celebrated on September 16th and is used to observe the date when the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaya with the former British colony of Singapore to create the Malaysian Federation. Hari Merdeka, on the other hand, is observed on August 31st and commemorates the Malayan Declaration of Independence in 1957 from the British.
The History of Malaysia Day
Although Malaysia Day and Hari Merdeka are related to one another, they’re also different from each other. Malaysia Day was designated as a day in 1963 to mark a new era—an era that grew out of the desire for people to build the country anew after obtaining independence in 1957. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really considered a holiday from 1963 to more recent times. It only became an official holiday in 2010 when former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak used the day to remind the Malaysian people of the hardships they’ve faced over the course of their history and the sweetness of the independence they now enjoy.
The original date for Malaysia Day was scheduled to be on June 1st in 1963, but it had to be delayed. Actually, it was delayed twice, once to August 31st and then again to September 16th. It’s on the 16th where this date currently sits in September.
Fun Facts About Malaysia Day
While researching Malaysia Day, we came across some very interesting facts about it that we’d like to share below. The following facts should give everyone something to discuss as they think about Malaysia Day celebrations and what they mean.
Who Was the First to Raise the Malaysian Flag in the Capital for the First Time
One of the most interesting things we’ve discovered is that the first time the Malaysian flag was raised in the country’s capital was by Capt Tunku Ahmad Nerang—an officer in the Royal Malay Regiment. He was given the flag by his father, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj.
Malaysia Day Became a Holiday Well After the Founding of Malaysia
As we stated earlier, Malaysia Day became a holiday in 2009. That means that it became a holiday 47+ years after the founding of the country, and 53+ years after Malaysia declared independence.
Observing Malaysia Day
This holiday is usually celebrated with children’s rallies, cultural shows, and even a fireworks display. It can also be observed with dancing that begins at midnight the night before and continues on to the day of the holiday. Other activities that might take place on this day include air shows, sea sports, and illuminated floats.