Last weekend saw three days of celebration across Mon State to mark the 67th Mon National Day. An official ceremony was organised in Kamawet, Mudon Township — an act that has earned jail time for past participants.
“People in the past were jailed for celebrating Mon National Day,” explained Min Kyi Win, a member of the official organising committee. “Respective governments in the past didn’t encourage it.”
Mon National Day is marked on the date of the establishment of the Hongsawaddy Kingdom after the end of British colonial rule in 1947.
Min Kyi Win told DVB that marking the date became easier after the pro-democracy protests of 8 August 1988, known in Burma as 8-8-88.
Min Zayar, a member of the political organisation 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, explained the positive role that such events play: “By celebrating the ethnic nationalities National Day in openness, it promotes the understanding, love and trust among different ethnic people. It helps to achieve national reconciliation and peace as the country has inherited a bad history.
“I join the celebration as a Mon National and I also join as a citizen of the country.” Min Zayar added.
Organisers received congratulatory letters from Burmese President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.