Malaysia has a unique celebration of Independence. On the 31st of August each year, the country observes the National Day, otherwise known as Merdeka or Independence Day. A fortnight later on September 16th, the country observes Malaysia Day which is the date when East Malaysian states Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaysia in 1963.
Previously, National Day was celebrated by the entire country while Malaysia Day was only celebrated in East Malaysia. It was only a few years ago that the government of Malaysia announced that Malaysia Day be celebrated by all in the country.
Each year, National Day is observed and celebrated in a large scale. This is where the Dataran Merdeka or Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur is closed to vehicles for a National Day Parade attended by prominent leaders and people from all walks of life.
This is the same place where independence of the country was declared in 1957 by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first prime minister of Malaysia. On certain years, the National Day parade is held away from Kuala Lumpur in other states but is held in the same capacity and scale.
2 weeks after National Day, Malaysia Day is observed. This is a very significant date especially for the people from East Malaysia because prior to 16th September 1963, Sabah and Sarawak was not part of Malaysia. It was only after this that it became part of the larger country and both have since benefited economically and socially ever since.
Malaysia Day is commemorated with much fanfare very similar to National Day which is usually held in East Malaysia. There will be traditional and cultural performances, parades, events and other activities held throughout this public holiday.