MALACCA - The Merdeka celebration for minority ethnic groups in the historic city is indeed a special ceremony.
From holding prayers by various congregations on Aug 31, the Portuguese, Chinese Peranakan and Chitty communities of Malacca regard Merdeka as a "soulful" celebration.
The eve of Merdeka will witness an extravaganza of countdowns, with churches, shrines and temples bells reverberating as a symbolic thanksgiving for peace and stability in the country.
Joseph Sta Maria, the representative of minority ethnic communities under the state Barisan Nasional's social service unit (Pembela), said the minorities since the first Merdeka anniversary in 1958 had always celebrated National Day as an important day.
"We celebrate democracy and cherish the political stability and peace of this nation that our forefathers made a home for their descendants.
"Minorities in all parts of Malaysia are truly the sons of this soil like our brethren from the Malay, Chinese, Indian and Kadazan communities," he said.
Sta Maria added that as a minority Portuguese ethnic, he would join his community to celebrate Merdeka at the Portuguese Settlement in Ujong Pasir here on Aug 30.
For the Peranakan Chinese or Baba Nyonya community, National Day is an auspicious day.
Secretary of Malacca Peranakan Chinese Association (PPCM) Chin Siok Hoon said the Baba Nyonya would usually put on their full traditional attire for the gathering during the eve of Merdeka.
"It's a grand celebration for us and our association's hall in Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock will be packed with members of the community," she said.
Chin added that the gathering would be held at 8pm on Aug 30 where traditional dishes such as Ayam Ponteh, Cap Chai and Nyonya Laksa would be distributed to all those attending the gathering.
For the Chitty community in Gajah Berang here, National Day is an auspicious day where the community gets together to remember the country's history and pass valuable cultural knowledge to the younger ones.
Kampung Chitty's cultural association chairman, K. Nadarajah said the spirit of patriotism rekindled the spirit of everyone young and old at the Chitty village here during the eve of Merdeka.
Nadarajah said several homes would prepare an array of mouthwatering sweets and homemade dishes to be distributed to those visiting the village on Merdeka Day.
The theme for this year's Merdeka celebration at Dataran Merdeka is #sehatisejiwa.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said that the theme was chosen because it reflected the spirit of solidarity, understanding, togetherness and humanity of all people in the country.
He added that starting this year, the Merdeka Day and Malaysia Day celebrations would no longer be called by their anniversary, but by year to appreciate the principle of equality between the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.