Monday, 18 November 2019

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Ethnic Karens celebrate New Year

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Ethnic Karen in Rangoon and Karen State on Wednesday celebrated their New Year in accordance with their calendar.

Celebrations were held in various places including Rangoon’s Arleing Ngasin Pagoda, Ahlone Bible College and Pa-an, Myawaddy, Shwe Kokku Myaing Gyi Ngu, and Taungkale towns in Karen state, in keeping with the dawn of the year 2,749.

At a New Year eve celebration on Tuesday in Shwe Kokku town of Karen state, Captain Mann Thurein of battalion No. (999) of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), an armed group backed by the Burmese military junta, delivered a keynote address.

“For Karens, the New Year celebration and Hand-knotting festivals are two very important events. It is celebrated annually to maintain our tradition and to pass on our culture to our younger generations,” an official of the DKBA battalion told Mizzima.

Though the DKBA had earlier planned to hold New Year celebrations at the Zwegapin foothill, they were forced to shift the celebration to Taung Kale and Myaing Gyingu due to security reasons, the official said.

Unlike in past years New Year celebrations in Pa-an town, capital of Karen State, did not attract as many people as in previous years. Only a flag hoisting ceremony was held at the township office, a local youth, who attended the celebration told Mizzima.

“The celebration in Pa-an was not as big as ones held earlier. There were about 200 people this morning to witness the flag hoisting and they dispersed soon after. Most people went to Taung Kale, as the celebrations were much bigger and more people attended,” said the youth.

But in some places in Karen state, authorities reportedly restricted t New Year celebrations, Saw Charles Noe, another Karen youth, said.

“In some places where the authorities are not happy with the Karens, they restricted the celebrations. And in some places, if there are conflicts, the celebration is very difficult to hold,” he added.  

Similarly, Karens across the world including in Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, United States, England, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand and Japan held the New Year celebrations.


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