Citrawarna or Colours of Malaysia dancers

  Citrawarna or The Colours of Malaysia

Come aboard Magic Carpet Journals to visit The Colours of Malaysia 

with Maxine George


Dancers at Citrawarna or the Colours of Malaysia

One of the world's most colourful extravaganzas takes place in Kuala Lumpur near the end of May each year. Citrawarna or the Colours of Malaysia is the kick off ceremony for a month-long celebration of the cultural diversity of the people who live in the 14 states and 4 territories that make up that multifaceted country. This event also is one of the celebrations marking the official birthday of the new King of Malaysia, His Majesty The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong. In a kaleidoscope of colourful ethnic costumes, a procession of nearly six thousand Malaysians entered Merdeka Square. They escorted the float containing their King, the Queen and an assortment of dignitaries to the Royal dais. Then they presented a spectacular show, with a continuous presentation of music and dance significant to their different states or cultures. For three and a half hours I sat spellbound while being entertained by the exotic rhythm and movement of this magnificent mosaic of people. For the fifth successive year, the people of Malaysia showed visitors from throughout the world that people of vastly different cultural and ethnic backgrounds can live harmoniously and happily in one country.

The multi-ethnic nature of Malaysia's people has roots that go back to the early traders who came to Malacca plying their wares. They came from throughout the world. Chinese and Indian traders came with tea, spices, silk and gold and also brought their religions and cultural practices. Thus Buddhism and Hinduism entered the cultural milieu of the Malay. Traders from the Middle East introduced the Islamic religion, which today has become the dominant religion of Malaysia, with nearly two-thirds of the present population being practicing Muslims. However, Malaysian Muslims do not follow the restrictive form of Islam now practiced in the Middle East. The Europeans, with a large contingent of Portugese traders, who still have a settlement in Malacca, brought Christianity. The Dutch and British also left their mark on the history and people of this country too.



Citrawarna or Colours of Malaysia dancers Colours of Malaysia or citrawarna dancers Colours of Malaysia or Citrawarna dancers

As could be expected, many of the traders who came to the country succumbed to beauty of the country and its people. One of Malacca's early Sultans took a Chinese Princess for a bride, establishing, by example, that interracial marriage was culturally acceptable. Intermarriage produced a blending of cultures. The legacy these forefathers left behind was one of mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance of the customs and beliefs of other ethnic groups and cultures. This became ingrained into the people.

Dancers at Malaysia's Citrawarna or Colours of Malaysia Male dancer at Malaysia's Citrawarna or colours of Malaysia Beautiful dancer at Malaysia's Colours of Malaysia


  Malaysia's attractive dancers at Colours of Malaysia   


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Today the pot pouri of cultures and traditions in Malaysian society is a source of much pride amongst its people. Mutual celebration of each other's customs has become a joyous tradition in the country. Unfortunately this is not a commodity that can be exported, but maybe we can all learn from the harmony that produces such joy in its friendly people.

Malaysian entertainers at Colours of Malaysia or CitrawarnaMalaysia is a country of frequent festivals. Whether it's the Chinese New Year, or their Lantern & Moon Cake Festival; the Muslim Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrating the end of Ramadan; the Hindu Thaipoosam, or their Deepavali also known as the festival of lights; or the Christian Christmas festivities, each is celebrated with much colour and plenty of enthusiasm. When I visited Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, I attended the opening of Sabafest in the grand ballroom of the Magellan Sutera Harbour Resort, where people displayed their craftsmanship in the lobby before the impressive ceremonies. Two days later, Kaamatan their annual harvest festival took place in the city's Padang Merdeka. Music and dance showcased the talented people of Sabah. It was a wonderful festivity.


Malaysian entertainers rest at Colours of MalaysiaThe whole country showcases it cultural diversity during their month-long celebration of The Colours of Malaysia.  Many special events take place in each state and territory at varying times throughout the entire month. Until I actually saw the colourful mosaic of multi cultural performers at Citrawarna, it was hard to envision so many ethnic groups living together harmoniously. As I watched them all blending their rhythm and movement, looking like a rainbow gone wild in their wonderful ethnic costumes, I began to realize that they not only tolerate their cultural diversity, they celebrate it!

Maxine George with Dato Paduka Abdul Kadir bin Haji Sheik FadzirWhen the economy of the Asia-Pacific countries took its downturn in the mid-nineties, Malaysia decided to stake its recovery on tourism. Knowing that they have much to offer tourists, they dug their heels in and began to work towards their goal. They said, " Salmat Datung" to the world or "Welcome." In the past five years the number of tourists who have visited this country has increased ten fold. The man behind the phenomenal growth in tourism is Dato' Paduka Abdul Kadir bin Haji Sheik Fadzir, Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism. This genial man, with an engaging smile, works hard to spread the word about Malaysia's many assets: a tropical paradise with fantastic scenery, beautiful beaches, the world's oldest rainforest and a diverse population of friendly and tolerant people. Citrawarna or The Colours of Malaysia is the showcase for this message.

Entertainers Malaysia's Citrawarna or Colours of MalaysiaAs the fireworks erupted over the clock tower, in Merdeka Square, during the finale of Citrawarna, I knew it was the end of the best show I ever had the privilege to see!





© Story and pictures by M. Maxine George

Fireworks bring Malaysia's Colours of Malaysia to a fitting finale


For further information about Citrawarna contact:

Tourism Malaysia (Canada)   830 Burrard St., Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2K4  Tel: 1-888-689-6872      Fax: 011-603-746-5637

Malaysia Airlines      Reservations: 1-800-552-9264


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Last Updated on January 10, 2006 by M. Maxine George editor.
© 2003 Magic Carpet Journals. All rights reserved