The 2756 Karen New Year celebration in Werribee Victoria was celebrated successfully on the 29th December 2016. This Year, the event was held at Werribee Baptist Church, with over 500 attendees. Karen New Year is an annual event celebrated on the first day of the month Pyathoe (Therlay in Sgaw Karen or Htike Kauk Po in Pwo Karen) on the Karen calendar. This was an opportunity to proudly showcase varieties of the Karen Cultural traditions. Nonetheless, it was no exception this year.
In Karen culture, music and dance plays a vital role, therefore, during this event these attributes were proudly demonstrated. This included the Don Dance performances by AKO (Australian Karen Organisation) and AKP (Australian Karen Preserving) Youth. Also, a Bamboo Dance by Geelong Youth was presented. There was a song by Geelong Youth that demonstrated the importance of Karen people uniting. A special guest who is a singer from Melbourne Mr Eh Mwee, sang a song called “welcome to Aussie”; a beautiful yet meaningful song that highlights the beautiful body of Karen and Australian cultures.
There was a Karen Culture Show that showcased traditional clothing and baskets. This opportunity displayed the uniqueness of traditional costumes, with admiration of the workmanship put into each handcrafted pieces.
An award ceremony was included for students who had attended Karen School. The students had recently participated in a poem competition, which required them to write about Karen New Year. This was in honour of the event. Other events that took place was the Karen New Year soccer tournament, featuring various teams from around Victoria.
As always, the Karen Women’s group worked tirelessly to prepare tasty and delicious Karen traditional food. This was served by AKO Youth to conclude the celebration, and was enjoyed by all attendees.
This event was passionately organised to ensure that no matter where Karen people live, important traditions are upheld for future generations.