31st August, 1957 Federation of Malaya (Now Malaysia) got its independence from the British Rule. It is celebrated as Hari Merdeka. Hari Merdeka is the short form of "Hari Kemerdekaan". Merdeka means Independence or freedom.
On 16th September, 1963 the Federation of Malaya is included three new states, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak and got its new name Malaysia. After two years, Singapore left the federation on 9th August 1965.
From 1970 on-wards themes have been introduced for the celebration of the National Day. The first theme was "Muhibah dan Perpaduan" which means "Love and Unity". This year's theme is "Malaysia, Disni Lahirnya Sebuah Cinta (Malaysia, Where Love Grows)".
The Indian connection: The Malay and Indonesian word "Merdeka" is derived from the Sanskrit word "Maharddhika" meaning "Rich, Prosperous and Powerful".
The handing over of independence to Federation of Malaya was witnessed by many foreign dignitaries including the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.