‘Colors of 1Malaysia’ is an annual cultural extravaganza in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. Last month when I got an invite from Tourism Malaysia to attend this festival, I had no idea what to expect. I was told that it is similar to our Republic day Parade but far more colorful. I rushed to Google, but not much had been written about it. Though a lot of colorful visuals popped up. I decided to visit it and I am happy I did.
The parallels can be definitely be drawn between India’s republic day parade. As this one also happens on a key road next to Malaysia’s independence square or Dataran Merdeka. With the audience on both sides of the road on elevated stands. Just like our President presides over the function, the King and Queen of Malaysia preside of Colors of 1Malaysia. There is a display of Malaysia’s culture, heritage, it’s biodiversity, etc, though there is no show of military might here. The atmosphere is far more informal with few protocols to follow. And the audience is engaged towards the end to participate. The buildings around the venue were lit up. And provided the backdrop for the event as it starts the late evening and ends around midnight.
Visit Malaysia Year 2014
This year the focus of the festival was to showcase Malaysia for 2014 that has been declared a Visit Malaysia Year. All possible tourism products were on display. I am impressed by the fact that they were not just showcasing products but also acknowledged the contribution of everyone who contributes to the tourism economy. And has the potential to create a positive experience for the visitors.
Various tableaus demonstrated various types of tourism on offer. The first one declaring the goals for tourism stating the number of visitors and the revenue expected from tourism. I thought it is courageous to declare the numbers as a business entity. Colorful tableaus showcased tourism categories like heritage tourism, home stays, sports tourism, eco-tourism, festival tourism, shopping tourism, etc.
Cultural Festival Showcase
While all this is kind of expected at cultural festivals, what I appreciated most was the fact that they showcased their Taxis, Buses, and Trishaws. And their contribution to successful tourism in the country. They also showcased festivals like Shoe festival and culinary tourism, crafts, and DIY tourism. They had something for everyone, whether you are young or old, whichever part of the world you came from. And whatever you may be interested in. It was good to see a well-rounded strategy to meet the numbers they have set for themselves.
Performances at the festival
In between the tableaus came the dancers from various communities and ethnicities of Malaysia. Drummers played live music and singers sang for the crowds and for the Royalty together. Acrobats performed tricks and all kinds of entertainers entertained the participants. There was never a dull moment as the well-coordinated groups went past the audience. In the end, all the 6000 performers came together on the road for impromptu dancing. And invited the audience to join in. With smile and style, they posed with them, for them and taught them some basic steps to dance.
Elaborate fireworks marked the beginning and end of the festival. It was raining throughout the event. But the performers were least disturbed by this. And they went on performing as if rain is a part of the celebrations. A spirit that definitely left an impression with all the visiting participants.
If you happen to be in Malaysia in May, I recommend this festival to you.
Recommend you to read the following travel blogs on Things to do in Kuala Lumpur and Places to visit in Malaysia.