Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hari Malaysia: 50th Anniversary!!!

After the moon cake festival on Sunday night, we were lucky enough the next day to have another festival, this time one that is universal for all Malaysians, on Monday. This is Hari Malaysia, or Malaysia Day, and next to Merdeka/Independence Day, it is the most widely celebrated day in the country. On September 16, 1963, Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore became part of Malaysia (Singapore became its own nation a few years later). Fast forward 50 years, and we have the Perak Hari Malaysia festival in Tapah Road, where I was coincidentally (and fortunately!) staying the night before. At the event, we watched live dancing and singing performances by secondary and primary school students. A couple of AFS students participated as well! The event also included a row of cool vintage cars and a display of several remote-controlled vehicles.

The view of the field where the event was held

Some of the vintage cars

Me with two other AFS students and the host family I stayed with

I really enjoyed seeing all of the different cultures on display at the event. The celebration's attractions and dances were very similar to the types of ones in America during 4th of July: lots of cultural dances and reenactions mixed with modern attractions. Watching the performances, one could see and hear music and dance elements belonging to Malay, Chinese, Indian, and western cultures. Getting to celebrate this important day in Malaysian history at such an awesome ceremony really gave me a lot of insight into the day’s meaning to all Malaysians regardless of race or religion. Being the 50th anniversary of such an important date, I'm sure the celebrations I attended were especially hyped up, and I am very fortunate to have experienced these special festivities. I had a lot of fun, and I really cannot wait until the next big national festival!

Until next time,

Anirudh

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