| Syazwani Hj Rosli |
THE 73rd birthday celebration 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 commenced yesterday with the traditional Grand Parade which was witnessed by crowds of people streaming the streets of Bandar Seri Begawan.
Also gracing the ceremony 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.
In display of nationalistic spirit, over 6,000 students lined the main route to the capital, waving flags to the beating of the Hadrah, as His Majesty and members of the royal family made their way to the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien.
His Majesty’s arrival at the Taman was announced with a 21-gun salute, followed by the playing of the national anthem ‘Allah Peliharakan Sultan’.
His Majesty later inspected the parade comprising 2,038 personnel from the Royal Brunei Land Forces, Royal Brunei Navy, Royal Brunei Air Force and the Royal Brunei Police Force, as well as officers and staff from government departments and uniformed civilian organisations.
The parade and march-past before the royal dais was led by Lieutenant Colonel Roasri Erwan bin Haji Tasrif Irwan, to the accompaniment of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Royal Brunei Police Force bands.
Three shouts of ‘Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik’ then reverberated across the capital, in a show of unwavering loyalty and devotion towards the monarch.
The high point of the parade was a fly-past performance over Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien, by a fleet of planes and helicopters from the Royal Brunei Air Force.
The Grand Parade marks the beginning of the month-long festivities for His Majesty’s birthday celebration, which include nightly bazaars in the capital and the much-anticipated Junjung Ziarah ceremonies with the citizens and residents in all four districts.