The theme of 'Sehati Sejiwa' (One Heart, One Soul) which was retained for the 2016 National Day celebration was truly apt as people from all over the country celebrated Merdeka eve displaying togetherness, gratitude and pride.

As usual, the much awaited countdown at 12 midnight to greet the arrival of Aug 31 was the highlight to welcome the nation's independence day.

Celebrations in the federal capital were concentrated at Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) with fireworks around the national landmark with cries of "Merdeka" and the singing of the Negaraku (national anthem).

Performances from various races, the Colour of Voices was among the show which captivated the attention of about 5,000 spectators which also manifested the 1Malaysia image as well as a musical fountain show.

Meanwhile, at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, the #SehatiSejiwa Merdeka Eve concert saw more than 5,000 people flooding the stadium including Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak and the ministry's secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad.

The concert which began at 9 pm presented several popular local artistes including Ella, Dayang Nurfaizah, Syamin and Yassin, followed by the climax of the night with a fireworks show and shouts of "Merdeka".

Meanwhile, IT student Ng Shin Ying, 20, won the Miss Malaysia Tourism 2016/17 crown on the eve of National Day, beating 15 other beauties from nine states for the coveted title.

Held at a hotel here, the Miss Malaysia Tourism Pageant 2016 National Final also saw A-Level students Thalia Thin, 18, and Tiong Li San, 17, being respectively crowned Miss Malaysia Tourism Queen of the Year 2016/17 and Miss Malaysia Tourism Metropolitan 2016/17.

They will represent Malaysia in their respective Miss Tourism International Pageant World Finals this year.

In NEGERI SEMBILAN, the Merdeka Eve celebration was enlivened by the participation of 60 secondary school students from Jelebu district in the 2016 Premier Museum Sleepover at the Jelebu Adat Museum.

Earlier, all of them aged 14 to 17, join an Explorace programme to test their moral and self-identity before the raising of the Jalur Gemilang (national flag) and cries of Merdeka and the singing of Negaraku at 12 midnight.

In Kelantan, almost 20,000 people assembled to celebrate the state level Merdeka Eve programme at Lembah Sireh, Kota Baharu organised by the Kelantan Federal Development Department and the Information Department tonight.

Among the programmmes included an auto show, sound and lights display, Merdeka Jalur Gemilang convoy procession and ending with a fireworks display.

In Perlis, the celebration organised by the Karnival Belia Anak Merdeka was held at the compound of Tuanku Syed Putra Stadium.

The highlights of programme, attended by Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man and the State Youth, Sports and Culture Committee chairman Abdul Jamil Saad included long drum display by the Perlis Siamese communitty and the singing of patriotic songs.

In PAHANG, the Merdeka Eve celebration began with a thanksgiving prayer at the Universiti Islam Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah college mosque.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and state executive councillors as well as Pahang police chief Datuk Seri Sharifuddin Ab Ghani were among thousands present at the ceremony.

Pahang Mufti Datuk Seri Dr Abdul Rahman Osman conducted the prayers for continuous blessing and prosperity of Malaysia since independence.

In KEDAH, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah with more than 2,000 people celebrated the state level Merdeka Eve event at Aman Central here.

Among the highlights of programme were a video show, a sajak declamation as well as the singing of patriot songs and the raising of the Jalur Gemilang by all present before a firework display and the cries of Merdeka.

In SARAWAK, the grand celebration was in Sri Aman with crowds arriving as early as 8pm the Sri Aman Waterfront and Sri Aman Youth and Sports Complex.

Entertainment was provided by Pentarama artistes from the Information Department.

Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud also attended thanksgiving prayers at Masjid Sri Aman in the evening, which was part of the programme.

In MELAKA, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron together with his state execuitive councillors joined some 1,000 people including foreign tourists in Jalan Hang Tuah to celebrate Merdeka eve.

In PENANG, thousands thronged Autocity Juru and Butterworth Outer Ring Road (R&R) in Pantai Bersih for the countdown and fireworks display.

In George Town, it was the same scene at Padang Kota Lama but there was no fireworks display on the island side.

In PERAK, Dataran Bandaraya Ipoh was a sea of people for the countdown.

Sultan Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah and Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Zara Salim graced the occasion. Also present was Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.

Besides cultural performances, the crowd was also entertained to an angklung show, poetry declamation while hot air balloons livened the night.