Karen people celebrate new year

Jan 9, 2008 (DVB), Karen people living in and outside Burma held celebrations yesterday to mark Karen new year's day and to promote and preserve Karen traditions.

In Thailand, a Karen New Year day celebration was held at Mae Tao clinic in Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma border.

Thousands of Karen people dressed in traditional clothing reportedly attended the event.

The traditional Karen singing and dancing, which have been a part of the celebration the previous years, were missing from this year's event, as Thailand is mourning the death of the late Princess Galyani Vadhana, elder sister of the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Mahn Shwe Hnin, a member of the New Year celebration committee, said that the celebration is intended to remind the younger generations of their heritage and also to maintain and promote the traditions and culture of the Karen nationalities.

In Burma, Karen new year's day celebrations were held in Alone township in Rangoon.

A Karen woman who attended the celebrations said that several speeches were given in Burmese and Karen about the Karen new year.

"We paid homage to the Karen flag at 6am this morning," she said.

"There were several sports activities and also speeches in Burmese and different Karen dialects."

In Myawaddy, on the Burmese side of the Thai-Burma border, the Karen Literature and Culture Association also organised a celebration for new year's day, one of the association's members said.

Reporting by Htet Yazar

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