Karen Members of Parliament (MPs) will lead the first Naypyidaw Karen New Year Festival when the 79th New Year Festival is held at the MCC-2 Hall in Naypidaw on 29 December.
Saw Shar Phaung Awar, the Naypyidaw Karen New Year Organising Committee Joint Secretary told Karen News that it was decided to hold the festival in Naypyidaw at a meeting held at the Naypyidaw Sebin Guesthouse on 19 November.
He said: “The Karen New Year was recognised by the Hluttaw (Parliament). So, this is an act of preserving it. All the Karen MPs want to preserve our Karen New Year. [The Karen New Year ceremony] will be held with the aim to unite all ethnic people and [help them to] work together.”
Naypyidaw residents and people from over 70 Karen villages in Pyinmana, Leway, and Tatgone townships will attend the Naypyidaw Karen New Year Festival.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and government officials will also be invited to the festival.
According to the committee, the Karen New Year Festival will include the summoning of the Karen traditional rice guardian, a traditional culture exhibition, and traditional dance performances by Karen dance troupes from each state and region.
Saw Aye Mya, the chairman of the Karen State Karen Literature and Culture Committee said: “I’m very glad that we will be able to portray our national spirit and cultural characteristics on such a glorious day.”
The British colonial administration recognised the Karen New Year as a public holiday in 1937. The Karen people living in Burma and around the world celebrate it on the first day of the month of Pyatho (the 10th month of the Burmese calendar) while Pantanaw Township and some villages in the Irrawaddy Region celebrate the Karen New Year on the first day of the month of Tabodwe (the 11th month of the Burmese calendar).
This year, the Karen New Year falls on 29 December.
There are 21 members of the Naypyidaw Karen New Year Organising Committee. The chairman is Mahn Saw Tin Win, the Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) MP for Kyain Seikgyi Township in Karen State; the secretary is Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe a Rangoon Region Amyotha Hluttaw (upper house) MP; and the joint secretary is Saw Shar Phaung Awar, the Kyain Seikgyi Township Amyotha Hluttaw MP.
Other members of the committee include: Mahn Win Khaing Than, the Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker; Mahn Johnny, the Irrawaddy Region Chief Minister; and Nan Khin Htwe Myint, the Karen State Chief Minister.
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited in English by Mark Inkey for BNI