Sarawak Independence Day
Sarawak Independence Day is a holiday that’s observed on July 22nd annually in the state of Sarawak in Malaysia. This holiday commemorates the establishment of de facto independence and self-government on July 22, 1963. It wasn’t officially gazetted as a holiday by the Sarawak government until 2016, but it’s been observed since then.
Since it’s a public holiday, schools, most businesses, and non-essential government offices are closed for the day. It’s also a day off for the general population so that everyone can enjoy the festivities. On this day are traditional dancers and music, parades, festivals, and sporting events as well.
The History Of Sarawak Independence Day
For over 120-years, Sarawak was under foreign rule. Although the U.S and Great Britain both recognized Sarawak as a sovereign nation in 1850 and 1864 respectively, they would become a British protectorate in 1888.
After World War II, the territory was briefly administered by the British Military Administration, but in 1946 it would become a Crown Colony of Great Britain. This led to many protests by the citizens of Sarawak who wanted their independence restored.
Sarawak wouldn’t be granted independent self-rule for many years, however. It would eventually receive it on July 22, 1963. Although this was an important day in the history of Sarawak, it would be many years before it was commemorated with a holiday. That day would occur in 2016 when Chief Minister Adenan Satem officially gazetted the 22nd of July as a public holiday in Sarawak. It’s officially known as Sarawak Independence Day, but some people refer to it as simply Sarawak Day.
Observing Sarawak Independence Day
With so many people off on this holiday, it’s a day on which people can really celebrate their independence. On this day, there are official ceremonies and speeches, of course, but there are also a number of other events that take part on this day. These include traditional dances and music, sporting events, parades, and waving not only the Malaysian Flag but also the Flag of Sarawak.