Dates of National Day
Merdeka Day (Freedom Day) is celebrated on 31 August.
The public holiday commemorates the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule in 1957.
Also known as Independence Day, Merdaka Day is Malaysia's National Day. A common misconception is that the day celebrates the independence of the country of Malaysia. However as Malaysia was formed by several states joining together, Malaysia as a nation, never gained independence from any other country.
Following the end of the Second World War, the Federation of Malaya was established on 1 February 1948. The Federation was still under British colonial rule. The member states were: Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Trengganu.
The Federation gained independence within the Commonwealth of Nations on 31 August 1957.
Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colony of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, joined the Federation of Malaya. This event is marked by Malaysia Day. Singapore left the federation in August 1965.
Malaysia's independence day is celebrated with much pomp and pageantry, signifying the unity of Malaysians of all races and creeds.
Towns and cities throughout the country are decorated with flags and shimmering lights.
The celebration centres on Merdeka Square in the morning, the starting point of a spectacular parade. His Majesty, the King, and government leaders sit among the thousands of spectators.
In a spirit of patriotism, office buildings, homes and even vehicles proudly display the Malaysian flag.
Other activities held during this period include stage shows, competitions and exhibitions