The entire nation of Brunei participates in this joyous occasion, which many citizens prepare for months in advance. School children, private sector representatives and civil servants work hand-in-hand rehearsing their parts in flash-card displays and other colourful public gatherings and celebrations, all culminating each year on the 23rd of February.
In addition, mass prayers and Islamic scripture readings are held at mosques throughout the country. Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium is the epicenter of the celebrations, and members of Brunei’s royal family usually grace the ceremonies with their presence.
The event itself celebrates the fact that although the nation had been a British protectorate since 1888, the sultanate gained independence in 1984. With much fanfare, Brunei’s independence was officially realized on January 1, 1984, however the British protection didn’t end until the 23rd of February, thus the first National Day was celebrated on that day in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei.