The Victorian Karen Community Network Group held the Karen New Year Celebration 2762 in Horsham on 10 December 2022.
Taw Doh, Chairperson of the Australian Karen Organisation of Victoria emphasised the importance of the Karen New Year Celebrations. The Association started in 2019 where 6 community groups were formed to maintain the traditions from their home country, Burma.
“We wanted to maintain our important dates for the Karen Community and telling our culture story.” Mr Taw Doh said.
The Karen people are an indigenous ethnic group of Myanmar (Burma) with their own language and culture. The Karen people have been fighting for their independence, and rights for over 70 years. Thousands of
Karen people have fled Myanmar to the refugee camps, along the Thai and Burma border, due to the ongoing persecution, military dictatorship, and war. Many others are internally and externally displaced.
Mr Taw Doh described how the military government in Burma does not allow their people to celebrate their culture, like dancing, language and practicing their values. “Our associations are there to help and support each other. It’s all part of the healing process.” Mr Taw Doh said.
The Karen New Year falls on the first day of Pyatho, the tenth month in the Burmese Calendar, and typically falls in December and January, this year on the 22 December. The timing coincides with the completion of the Southeast Asian rice harvest in the lead-up to Pyatho. Celebration typically includes Don dances, bamboo dances, singing, speeches, and the enjoyment of food.
“We want the community members to come together and celebrate our remarkable day and socialise with each other. When coming to Australia we still wanted to keep our traditions with food, dance and clothing.”
“Our associations are bringing the communities together to learn from our traditional values. Being in a great country like Australia allows us to integrate into the Australian Culture whilst allowing us to come together and sharing our culture.” Mr Taw Doh said.
M.C. Herd Operations Manager, Angelo Lauricella was thrilled to be invited to the Karen New Year Celebrations 2762, by the Victorian Karen Community Network Group and the Karen Community Group Geelong.
“The Karen people are very important to our business as we started working with only a few Karen employees doing some labouring jobs and now employ so many who have worked their way up to senior positions such as boners, knifehands, meat inspectors, team leaders and Supervisors.” Mr Lauricella said.
We are a company that embraces diversity, culture and giving people who have migrated to Australia a second chance by giving them the opportunity to realize their dreams and aspirations.
“M.C. Herd is doing a great job with the Karen people by giving the Karen people a chance by providing jobs and education.” Mr Taw Doh said.
“It was amazing to see our employees and the Karen Community enjoying their celebrations with food and dance. The Karen people are very welcoming and proud community and it great to see the Karen traditions passed down to the younger generations.” Mr Lauricella said.
“We are so grateful with the overall community and support shown by M.C. Herd. They (M.C. Herd) employ many Karen people and everyone in the community was so happy with their sponsorship and their overall support.” Mr Taw Doh said.
The Karen Flag meaning :
The Nine rays of Light
from the rising sun Or the Nine rays sunshine the symbolizes represents the
nine regions or districts of where Karen people trace their origins.
The drum- traditional frog
drum symbolizes Unity in traditional Karen culture.
The colours of the flag meaning:
Red – symbolizes
instance signifies braveness
Honesty and faithfulness
symbolizes purity /sincerity
Next year’s Karen New Year Celebration will be hosted by one of the other associations in the state.
Article by Angelo Lauricella
Karen New Year