by M. Maxine George
Our visit to Malaysia was timed to coincide with Citrawarna Malaysia 2000, their month-long cultural celebration. Also known as the Colours of Malaysia this event is a celebration of the diverse cultures that make up the 12 different states of Malaysia. This also began celebrations to mark the official 74th birthday of the King, His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. We attended the festive opening extravaganza. Our group of eight Canadians had been invited, so were fortunate to have seating on the grandstand close to the royal dais, where our view of the proceedings was excellent.
As darkness set in the 1.5 km route, beginning in Merdeka Square, along Jalan Raja Laut and ending at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, suddenly blazed with many thousands of twinkling lights. Loudspeakers came to life with the song, "Malaysia, Truly Asia." The amazing spectacle began to unfold. We watched the ethnic dancing to the melodious strains of their traditional music. Floats pulled by Oxen or colorfully decorated and lit trishaws and bicycles passed by our viewing stand. Huge Oriental paper dragons weaving and undulating around the dancers. For several hours this electrifying extravaganza continued to amaze us. The ethnic dances and costumes, each one unique and colourful in its own right, turned this evening into an extravaganza beyond compare!
Each state in the country was represented by people demonstrating various aspects of their culture in music, dance, marching and floats. In all over 4,000 people, dressed in their colourful ethnic costumes, performed before their King, the young and beautiful Queen and their entourage that night. The kaleidoscope of colour, lights and music throughout the evening was awe inspiring. Incidentally, one surprise for me was the distinctly Portuguese influence in some of their music. I expected to hear tinkling, bell-like tones of Oriental music, instead I often heard a rhythm and beat reminiscent of Latin countries.
The grand finale of the evening saw the entire
colourful entourage filling the street before us as
fireworks erupted, lights and music filled the air in
the rising crescendo of music and merriment. To
tune of their theme song, "Malaysia, Truly Asia"
the evening came to a spectacular conclusion. It
was a very impressive evening, one I will long
Article and Pictures by M. Maxine George
with exception of Clock Tower photo which is courtesy of Margaret Deefholts
For further information about Citrawarna contact:
Tourism Malaysia (Canada)
830 Burrard St., Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2K4
Phone: 1-888-689-6872 Fax: 011 603 746 5637
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