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Brunei citizens heading to the mosque on the occasion of Mawlid. Image courtesy of Brunei Tourism.

Bruneians commemorate the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday on Rabiulawal, the 12th day of the Islamic calendar. Known as Maulidin Nabi Saw or “Mawlid” in Brunei, the full-day event takes place on January or February on the Gregorian calendar.

Prayer, procession, and religious rites keep the day bustling, beginning with scripture readings from the Koran and sermons on Islamic tradition and values at Bandar Seri Begawan’s foremost park, Taman Haji Sir Muda OmarAli Saifuddien.Decorations festoon many homes and mosques to mark the event. The mosques receive food as donations to the destitute, while the streets give way to a procession led by His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah and the royal family.

With schools and many businesses closed, families devote the entire day to commemorating Muhammad’s birth. Children often recite prayers and poems that narrate the prophet’s life and work.

Many Muslims opt for a strict and spartan approach to the sacred day, favoring prayer, reading scripture, and fasting as a means to honor the prophet.


Brunei Navy officers on parade during Mawlid. Image courtesy of Brunei Tourism.

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For other celebrations with a strong Malay influence, visit Brunei and Singapore during their Eid ul Fitr (Hari Raya) celebrations. For other festivals in the month of December, visit the Cambodia Sea Festival and the respective Christmas celebrations of the Philippines and Singapore.