Many countries from around the world celebrate the beginning of the New Year at different times, in many different ways for many different reasons. So, it is in our Karen community!
Since coming to Nhill in 2010, we, the Karen have continued to celebrate our New Year in the traditional way, on the first day of Pyathoe, which is the tenth month in the traditional Burmese calendar. It falls at the end of December or beginning of January. It marks the harvest of one rice crop and the planting of the next. The Karen New Year was officially recognised for the first time as a public holiday in 1938, during the British colonial rule.
These celebrations are important gatherings in the community as, it is also a celebration of new beginnings, similar to those in the Western cultures who often make New Year’s Resolutions. It is also the largest event in the Karen community year and is celebrated nationally throughout Burma and all Karen communities throughout the world.
In recent years, the Nhill Karen community shared the celebrations with Horsham; however, we are pleased to announce that the Nhill Karen Community will be hosting the 2024 event in the Nhill Memorial Community Centre at 10am on Jan 20th. This promises to be bigger & better than ever as many Karen throughout Victoria, and also some travelling from interstate, will be attending & performing at these festivities. There will be singing & dancing, including the spectacular Don dance, bamboo dances, some speeches, and a display of Karen costumes of all shapes, colours and sizes.
So, when you receive your 2024 calendar, please ‘Save the Date, 20/1/2024’ as we would like to extend a warm invitation to everyone in our community to share in the festivities and enjoy a traditional meal with us.
This article appeared in the Nhill Free Press & Kaniva Times, 20 December 2023.