Merdeka Day is Malaysia’s celebration of Independence on August 31st.
My memories of Merdeka day always include the parade on TV, images of the flag, and the black and white profile of Tunku Abdul Rahman. For folks in Malaysia it is a public holiday and for all Malaysians, a perfect excuse to throw a party!
I think that the theme and activities for this party really should depend on the age of the children you are going to host. For inspiration, your child’s history book, or websites are good places to start. Set the patriotic mood with decorations and party food.
- Use tablecloths, balloons and paper plates in flag colors
- If you have them, group bunga raya (hibiscus) flowers in small vases to decorate the table. Artificial ones work well, but you can use the real thing if you pick them just before the party and include part of the woody stem to have them last longer.
- Sparklers and fireworks (if allowed) are always a hit
- Decorate cupcakes with small flags on toothpicks
- Rose syrup or colorful juice drinks and jellies are an easy color addition
- Merdeka music might make your kids cringe, but these are easy to download. Sudirman’s “Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!” is the first thing that comes to my mind.
Merdeka Day Games
If this is an outside event like a barbeque or picnic, have simple equipment on hand to encourage the kids to run around and enjoy the outdoors. This does not have to be elaborate. A few badminton racquets, a Frisbee or a soccer ball will entertain for quite a while. If you have access to a pool, play “Merdeka Polo” instead of “Marco Polo”.
Merdeka Day Trivia
For older kids, you can make this a learning opportunity and print a list of 10 questions about Merdeka day and have a door prize for the child who comes up with the most correct answers.
Merdeka Day Craft project
Have the kids create a Merdeka day box (link to box craft idea) to take home as a gift.
Merdeka Day should be a day to reflect on the history of our nation. So, keep it simple, throw in a few patriotic details and enjoy the day.
Merdeka Day Box: Craft project
A craft project to make a Flag box, or a Merdeka day box, is a fun activity for you to do with your kids, or to include at a party. Determine a time to start and finish, and set aside a space for the kids to work and be messy. Have the kids write their names and date on the bottom of the box when they are done.
Kids over 8
A collage is a good way for the older kids to express their creativity. They can decorate a box with cuttings, markers, and different material to reflect what the day means to them.
Boxes – any cardboard box that you can glue paper onto
Old magazines, newspapers
Scissors (one per kid would be ideal)
For this age group, a good theme would be the colors of the flag. Have the kids decorate a box with materials that reflect the colors of the flag. Teach them what the colors are, and what they mean.
Plain white cardboard boxes from cake decorating or art supply shops
Ratha Nithiananthan a mom to one son and two mischevious cats. She grew up in Penang, Malaysia, and loves to cook and entertain. She now lives in Virginia, USA.