The 27th SEA Games came full circle on Sunday night with the colorful pageantry of the Closing Ceremony held at Wunna Theikdi Stadium in Nay Pyi Taw.
An hour of music presaged the official ceremony, with the performance of “Colorful Garden”, the theme song for the Games, starting things off. “Loyalty of Blood” was later presented by well-known artists May Sweet and May Kha Lar, as images from the landscapes of participating countries flashed across the giant screen behind.
The musical hors d’oeuvres concluded with all artists joining together in “Be Peaceful”, a melody written for all living and non-living things throughout the world.
Myanmar President Thein Sein and his wife Daw Khin Khin Win then entered the stadium and took up their privileged positions, following which the Closing Ceremony was officially opened with a pyrotechnic display that lit the sky a bright green.
With a rich and diverse population, Myanmar culture then took center stage with four performances. The first directly connected the SEA Games to Myanmar tradition, celebrating the sport of chinlone, which is believed to have first appeared in Myanmar in the 5th century. Hundreds of players lined the Wunna Theikdi stage, displaying both basic and advanced actions, many of the latter not included in the SEA Games owing to their degree of difficulty.
As with much of Southeast Asia, the elephant in Myanmar is a revered creature. The “Elephant Dance” paid tribute to this giant of the jungle. Every year in Kyaukse, located near the former royal center of Myanmar pageantry in the vicinity of Mandalay, the festival draws thousands from throughout Myanmar and abroad to soak up the tradition.
With 135 officially recognized ethnic races, the Closing Ceremony then paid homage to the ethnic diversity of the country with the performance of “Everlasting Myanmar”, depicting the rich diversity of the population, and simultaneously the many obstacles on the path to realizing a new, peaceful and prosperous modern state.
Medal winners were then paraded onto the stadium floor to the beat of martial music – chants of “Myanmar” ringing through the stadium as the hosts entered with their 86 gold, 61 silver and 85 bronze medals.
With the procession complete, Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun officially announced the 27th SEA Games concluded, as strobe lights searched the sky and a cornucopia of fireworks exploded over the stadium.
The first SEA Games in Myanmar in 44 years was then finally put to rest with one last volley of fireworks and round of musical performances following the official handing over of SEA Games responsibilities to Singapore, host of the 2015 Games.