Celebrating Maldivian Independence this annual event sees the pint-sized capital come alive with celebration.
They say good things come in small packages and the Maldivian capital, Malé, is a perfect example of this. This Lilliputian city, located on a petite island, might be dinky but it certainly knows how to throw a party; each year in July the city comes alive with festivities as the nation celebrates Independence Day.
The event marks the day in 1965 when the country finally gained independence - previously, it had be occupied at various points by the British, the Portuguese and the Dutch. A public holiday that's celebrated across the islands, the main event takes place in Malé around Republic Square. Beginning (usually in the early evening) with a military march watched by thousands, the parade is followed by colourfully attired school children, who make up a choreographed procession. Dancers in traditional Maldivian dress fill the streets while huge floats showcasing historic scenes glide past locals. A traditional time to spend with family or visit neighbouring islands, many restaurants serve popular local feasts and dishes.
If you're in town during July then this colourful, patriotic and traditional parade is a great way to immerse yourself in Maldivian culture - you're also likely to get a chance to sample popular local dishes that have been specially prepared for the occasion. So while the city might be pint-sized, this is one celebration that packs a big festive punch.
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