THERE was joy and laughter among those who attended Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar's tea party to celebrate his 54th birthday last Thursday.
MUAR: About 40,000 subjects gathered under spacious white marquees at Stadium Sultan Ibrahim, here, during the afternoon function.
They came with friends and family to join in the celebration which had plenty of good food and entertainment.
Sultan Ibrahim arrived with his consort, Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah at 3pm.
The rest of the royal family was also present.
Upon the sultan's arrival, the Johor state anthem was played followed by a doa recital.
Then, Sultan Ibrahim made his rounds and showed appreciation for the variety of cakes made for him, courtesy of the various government departments and the private sector.
Sultan Ibrahim picked up a cake in the form of a car and was further amused by another cake that had icing in the shape of a super-bike.
He then proceeded to cut a boat shaped cake with his wife by his side.
Thistle Johor Baru hotel marketing and communications manager Aidah Abd Rahman, said the hotel presented a chocolate brownie cheese cake.
"It is decorated with a JH cuff link, which is an abbreviation of Johor. The hotel also contributed 5,000 bottles of mineral water for the guests," she said
Other interesting cakes presented were one with a map of Johor on it and another that looked like branches of a tree .
The crowd enjoyed delicious chocolate cake along with tapioca fritters and fried bananas before watching the performances.
There was plenty of food, with favourites such as roti jala, mee bandung and Kentucky Fried Chicken, prepared by hotels and local traders, to go around.
Kicking off the entertainment was singer Roy, best known for his patriotic 1Malaysia song.
He also belted out evergreen classics such as Widuri and My Way.
Lufya Omar of Akademi Fantasia sang Fly Me To The Moon while Dewi Liana Seriestha sang Can't Take My Eyes Off You.
The celebration also included a number of energetic dance numbers.
The dancers were brought to Muar by Yayasan Warisan Johor and the district's cultural council.
Among the dancers was 8-year old Azreen Haiqal Jeafree, from SK Sri Tangkak, who looked resplendent in a light green baju Melayu and a songkok.
"I am happy to dance with my friends," he said.
Nur Elysa Maisara Mazlan, 8, looked elegant with her hair pinned up in a cucuk sanggul and a grey baju kurung Johor.
Young Mohammad Razif R. Ajeni, performed a well-executed xapin dance. "It is an honour to dance for the Sultan.
"There are many techniques to master and I am still trying to learn all the moves," he said.
Meanwhile, 15 members of Dua Space Dance Theatre in Kuala Lumpur presented the "longevity dance".
They were accompanied by a 10-member dragon dance troupe clad in purple and gold from Chung Hua Independent High School in Klang.
A group member, Soo Yeow Guan, said he valued the opportunity to perform in other states, which gave him experience.
Astana Arts dancers looked majestic in peacock feathers as they performed the peacock dance.
Darvena Yogeswaran, 14, from SMK Seksyen 4 Bandar Kinrara in Puchong, Selangor said it was her first time dancing for the Sultan.
"I wish the Sultan all the best for the future," she said.
For the finale, all dancers performed a "Zapin Menjunjung Duli" as a sign of respect to Sultan Ibrahim.
The Royal Malaysian Police band comprising 42 members led by Mohd Noor Effendi Mohd Yusoff also gave a resounding performance.
The celebration ended at 5pm with the departure of Sultan Ibrahim and the royal family.
Before leaving, Sultan Ibrahim shook hands with and had his photograph taken with the guests.