Festivals are colours of light, which enlighten our mind and soul. Brunei is a perfect place for those interested in gala celebrations and ceremonies.
Bruneians enjoy many festivals throughout the year with great enthusiasm and rejoice. Check out some festivals that are celebrated in Brunei.
23rd February is of immense value for Bruneians because of the commemoration of the National Day of Brunei. On this auspicious day, everyone comes forward to share the spirit of joyfulness, pleasure and enjoyment. In fact, people start preparing for this occasion a few months before it starts. It is a special moment for school children, civil servants, staff members and private representatives because they can equally participate in the day of celebration. Prayers and rituals are held at the mosques.
Ramadhan is the ninth holy month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims celebrate the festival by keeping fast in the month of Ramdhan, from dawn to dusk in which they don’t eat, drink and utilise materialistic comforts. During this holy month, Muslims concentrate on religious activities. Prayers are held at the mosques throughout the Brunei.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan and is celebrated on the first day of the month Shawwal. The day starts with visiting mosques early in the morning to offer prayers. This festival is marked by enjoyment where people prepare mouth smacking dishes such as ketupat (rice cakes), satay (beef and chicken kebabs), rendang (spicy marinated beef) and many more. On this day, the Sultan of Brunei invites people to his palace, Istana Nurul Iman to get blessings on the special occasion of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and meet other members of the Royal family.
On 31st March, Royal Brunei Armed Day is celebrated to mark the foundation of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. This festival is organised in the heart of the Brunei at the Taman Haji Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien. Military parades, parachute shows and artillery displays are held for public.
Hari Raya Aidiladha celebrated on 17th of November is also known as Hari Raya Koran. Many Muslims go on board to holy pilgrimage to Mecca. They sacrifice goats and cows to honour the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael, before God intervened and asked him to provide him with a sheep instead. The meat is distributed to friends, relatives and amongst those who are less fortunate.
On 15th July, His Majesty the Sultan’s Birthday is celebrated every year. To take part on this occasion, people gather at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar Saifuddien located in the heart of the Brunei. The festival starts with the speech of His Majesty, also known as a titah. The celebration goes on for two weeks with many attractions such as fire displays in the sky, parades and processions during the festival.
The birthday of the Prophet Muhammad is also known as the Mauludun Nabi S.A.W. Muslims. On 9th July, the festival is celebrated by reading the holy book of Koran along with an address on Islam from the Ministry of Religious Affairs. On this occasion, His Majesty the Sultan offers a speech whereas other members of the Royal Family lead a procession on foot through the main streets of the Bandar Seri Begawan.
Chinese New Year, which is celebrated from 14th – 16th February is one of the famous festivals of Chinese community living in Brunei. This occasion is celebrated for two weeks, which starts with the reunion of family members and relatives. The houses are kept open for guests invited to rejoice and feast. Younger couples are bestowed with gifts of money in little red packets (ang pow).
On 25th December, the Christmas Day is delighted with fun and enthusiasm. It is mostly celebrated by the natives of Bandar Seri Begawan and the Belait District. On this occasion, houses are decorated with lights. The festival is enjoyed with folks, family members and friends by parties, fun and feast.