Celebratory activities to mark the Maldives’ 50th anniversary of independence from the British on July 26, 1965 continued in Malé today with a children’s evening at the Sultan Park and a three-hour ban on vehicles.
The ‘Golden Jubilee – Children’s Joy’ event was jointly organised by the education ministry, gender ministry, and the home ministry and will be open daily from 4:00pm to 10:00pm until July 29.
The transport authority meanwhile imposed a ban on vehicles in the capital from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. Vehicles are also banned tomorrow from 6:00pm to 10.00pm with a float parade due to take place on the streets.
Scores of families took to the streets of the capital and enjoyed the empty roads this evening. Most children were dressed in traditional clothes featuring the red, green and white of the national flag.
Official Independence Day celebrations kicked off on the night of July 24 with the re-opening of the newly renovated Republic Square and a massive fireworks display.
A music show at the eastern corner of Malé featuring performances from Bollywood pop star Sanam Puri and local artists took place the following night whilst a flag hoisting ceremony and a fireworks display after midnight ushered in Independence Day.
The official function to mark the golden jubilee of independence was held at the Usfasgandu area of Malé last night with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Srisena as the chief guest.
After the official function, President Abdulla Yameen also hosted a banquet in honour of visiting foreign dignitaries at the Dharubaaruge convention centre while Vice President Ahmed Adeeb hosted a luncheon for the guests of honour at the Hotel Jen this afternoon.
The Maldives National Defence Force and school brass bands meanwhile held a march yesterday on the capital’s main thoroughfare. The president and first lady observed the march from Muleeage, the official presidential residence.
Official games at the national stadium originally scheduled for tonight have been postponed for Friday night due to bad weather.
The games will feature a sky-diving event and a three hour play depicting different stages of Maldivian history from the Buddhist-era to the present.
Among other activities planned for the golden jubilee celebrations, a float parade is due to take place tomorrow.
According to the finance ministry, a budget of MVR150million (US$9.7million) has been allocated for Independence Day celebrations.
All government buildings, streets, lampposts, communication towers, and hundreds of trees and walls in Malé City have been decked in blinking red, yellow and white neon lights.