Grand parade in Brunei's capital city

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ ANN) - The celebrations for the 71st birthday of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam began with the traditional ceremonial parade at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien in the capital yesterday.

The event yesterday was full of colour and pageantry, with the attendance of many heads of nations, special VIP guests and dazzling displays of loyalty from the Sultanate’s security forces.

About 6,000 students lined the streets leading to the square, waving miniature flags proudly as the motorcade carrying His Majesty and members of the royal family passed by.

This was accompanied by the beating of Hadrah by 500 students which resounded throughout the capital.

Members of the public, some in Baju Cara Melayu (national attire) while others in smart casual, all attended with the same thing in mind: celebrating the royal birthday bash.

The festivities kicked off with 21-cannon salute, accompanied by the national anthem.

Gracing the event were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah.

His Majesty then consented to inspect the parade which comprised 1,244 personnel from the Royal Brunei Land Forces (RBLF), Royal Brunei Navy (RBN), Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF), and Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) as well as officers and staff from government departments and uniformed civilians organisations.

The grand parade was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Aldi bin Haji Hassan.

After the inspection, His Majesty witnessed a march-past by uniformed personnel, who halted before the monarch and hailed ‘Daulat!’ (‘Long Live the King’ in Malay) three times as a show of undivided loyalty.

Ending the ceremony, a spectacular fleet of aircraft and helicopters from the RBAirF performed a fly-past over Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien, leaving trails of yellow, blue, white and red smoke, the colours of the national flag of Brunei Darussalam.

The ceremony commences a month-long celebration in conjunction with His Majesty’s birthday. Activities include night market at the capital and the unique Junjung Ziarah (get-together), where the monarch visits each district to celebrate with the people.