A military display, procession, and cultural performances were held on Wednesday night to celebrate the Maldives’ 58th Independence Day. More than 1000 performers from schools across the country, Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), and cultural troupes from Male’, Kaashidhoo Island in Kaafu Atoll, Vashafaru Island in Haa Alifu Atoll, and Dhiggaru Island in Meemu Atoll took part in the grand event held at the National Football Stadium in Male’.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna, along with Vice President Faisal Naseem and Second Lady Aishath Shamsada, attended the event. Upon their arrival at the National Football Stadium, the President and the First Lady were received by Home Minister Imran Abdulla. President Solih was then escorted to the presidential dais, where he received an honorary 21-gun salute.

The salutations were followed by a performance of the National Anthem by a combined ensemble orchestra consisting of members from various School Bands and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) military band.

After the National Anthem performance, the President and the First Lady observed a procession by the Armed Forces Guard and a collective squad from schools across the Maldives. The march past the Presidential Stand was accompanied by another salute to honour the President.

The 58th Independence Day celebrations featured a parade of honour and route march by the Maldives National Cadet Corps (MNCC), with the participation of 14 schools from Malé. During the parade, members of the MNDF and students from various schools performed a collaborative musical act, symbolising shared unity and nationalism.

The event comprised a total of nine acts throughout the event, including cultural and musical performances by the MNDF, Hulhumalé junior and senior groups, two groups from Henveiru and Maafannu wards in Malé, and groups from Kaashidhoo Island in Kaafu Atoll, Vashafaru Island in Haa Alifu Atoll, and Dhiggaru Island in Meemu Atoll.

This year’s Independence Day celebrations saw participation from 14 schools in Malé. Participants from schools were divided into three groups: Juniors and Seniors from Hulhumalé; a group from the Henveyru district, and a third group from the Maafannu district.

The school performances commenced with junior-level students from various schools in Hulhumalé. The presentation involved students from Kaamil Didi Primary School, Mohamed Gasim Preschool, Huravee School, and Ghaazee School, alongside students from Rehendhi School. They illustrated a story in which the Maldives loses its independence, regains it, and celebrates the milestone in a safe and free environment.

Next, participants from Kaafu Atoll Kaashidhoo took the field with a cultural act, based on Harubee, a traditional greeting of a Sultan: during Muslim Eid celebrations, people march with drums and trumpets in a ceremony called Harubee Ah Vadaigathun.

The third act of the evening was delivered by senior-level students from various schools in Hulhumalé. Their story took the audience down memory lane, recapping the significant growth and developments that followed the island nation’s independence. Embracing the simplicity and a sense of unity in the traditional Maldivian ways, the act also showcased the current generations’ yearnings for the restoration of such unifying customs. The message was delivered by students from Huravee School, Rehendhi School, and Ghaazee School.

Maldivian ethos was further amplified by the Dhiggaru Youth Association with another set of traditional acts. The organisation began with a dance called Langiri Jehun. Langiri is a folk performance of the Maldives, the origin of which can be traced back to the early 20th century during the rule of Sultan Shamsuddin III. It was followed by other various forms of traditional dances including Kuru’dhandi and Dhigu’dhandi and Thaara.

The fourth performance was presented by school participants from the Henveiru district, comprising six schools: Dharumavantha, Imaduddin, Izzudheen, Jamaluddin, Kalaafaanu, and Majeediyya school. Through music and other forms of performance art, the group showcased the journey that led to the independence of the Maldives.

The fifth and final act from school participants came from the Maafannu ward, encompassing five schools: Thaajudheen, Hiriya, Iskandhar, Aminiya, and Muhyiddin. Their performance conveyed the current generation’s willingness to preserve the culture and heritage of the Maldives.

The closing act was a musical titled Kalhuthuh’kalaa by MNDF. The focus of the act was a Maldivian king who ruled the nation in the 17th century. Upon assuming the throne, he took the name of Al-Sultan Mohamed Imaduddin l Siri Kula Sundar Kahthiri Bavana Maharadhun. He is recognised as a brave national hero who fended off every enemy force that came to challenge the Maldives’ independence.

Senior government officials, including parliament members, cabinet ministers, foreign dignitaries, as well as citizens of the Maldives and neighbouring countries, attended the grand event.

In the afternoon of Thursday, MNDF also hosted a customary parade to commemorate the occasion. The parade, which kicked off at Republic Square, was observed by President Solih and First Lady Fazna. They were accompanied by Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi, Home Affairs Minister Imran Abdulla, and the Chief of Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Abdulla Shamaal.

The military parade and display commenced with a presidential salute, followed by a performance of the National Anthem by the MNDF military band. Vice President Faisal Naseem and senior officials from government offices and institutions, and members of the general public also attended the event.