Historic Karen New Year celebrations kick-off today

The 2013 Karen New Year celebrations will be first. It will be the first time, the Karen people and its political organisdation, the Karen National Union (KNU) will celebrate the Karen New Year in a government controlled area. This was made possible when the KNU and the government reached cease-fire agreement last year.

The Karen New Year 2752 celebrations in Myitta, east of Dawei, will start this morning. The official Karen New Year begins on 12 January 2013.

This year’s festivities in the area started today and will run for five days – 8th to 12th January and are organized by the KNU and the Karen people from three townships – Ler Doh Soe, Ka Ser Doh and Htee Moe Pwa.

Karen New Year celebration will also be held in Ta Poe Hta (Therabwin), east of Myeik Town. The Ta Poe Hta’s regions festivities were organized by the KNU and Karen people in three townships in the area – Ler Mu Lah, Ternawthari and Lay Nya Boke Pyin.

Celebration are also scheduled for Myeik Town in Tenasserim Division.

Attending the opening of the Karen New Year celebrations in Myitta, were the KNU Mergui-Tavoy District officials, Burma Army military officers and the head of the Myitta sub-township.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the five-day Karen New Year celebration, the KNU Mergui-Tavoy District Secretary Pdoh Saw Thaw Thi Pay said.

“We are a nation who love their people. I strongly believe that with today’s celebration of Karen New year, we will maintain our people’s identity, uphold who we really are and build stronger understanding of the Karen.”

Saw Gyi Noe, secretary of the Karen New Year celebration in Myitta Committee Secretary told Karen News.

“The aim of the celebration of the Karen New Year is for the Karen people to cooperate with each other. It is for the government to understand more about the Karen people, the Karen culture and to recognize it.”

“There are still some Karen people who fear to join in the celebration of the Karen New Year as a result of living in fear of the government for many years.”

The Myitta Town celebrations will include sports competitions, a Karen culture exhibition, an environmental exhibition, the Don dance, singing contests and a Miss Karen contest. It is estimated that for this morning’s celebration that as many as 5,000 people attended.

KNU officials and the government officials will play a friendly football match.

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