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PHOTOS | VIDEO | Karen people celebrate new year at Nhill

By SARAH SCULLY
Members of Karen refugee communities across Victoria descended on Nhill on Saturday to celebrate Karen New Year.
Organiser Tha Blay Sher said she was thrilled to see hundreds of people brave sweltering conditions to enjoy a celebration of culture and history at Nhill Memorial Community Centre.
“The day was hot but we had a lot of fun,” she said.
“We had Karen people come from Mt Gambier, Ringwood, Bendigo and Werribee. It was really nice to have all these people come together at our event and to meet people you haven’t met before.
“We also had a lot of non-Karen people join in, which was wonderful to see so much support from the wider community.
“I want to thank everyone who came for their support.”
Karen people celebrate new year on the first day of the month of Pyathoe, in the Karen calendar.
The date falls in either December or January in the western calendar.
This year the community marked the 2557th year on the Karen calendar, which started in 739BC when the Karen people migrated to Burma.
Activities at Nhill included cultural performances, such as traditional Done and bamboo dances, and a traditional performance depicting the history of the Karen people. Ms Sher said members of the community provided lunch for attendees, with traditional favourites on the menu.
“After many performances and the official ceremony we went to the football ground for sporting competitions,” she said.
“That was also very hot. We played cane ball and the kids and us ladies did a lot of running and jumping and activities. It was a lot of fun.”
Ms Sher said the annual sports component at Davis Park, which featured round robin competitions of volleyball, soccer and the traditional Karen sport of cane ball, was always a highlight.
Hindmarsh Shire Council leaders officially launched its Karen Community Plan 2017-2021 during festivities at the community centre. “The council arranged meetings with the Karen community and also went to Nhill College to talk to the students,” Ms Sher said. “I think the community seems happy with the plan because the council listened to some of our ideas.”
The plan is an updated version of an original 2014 document and is designed to improve support and opportunities for Karen people in the municipality.

Helena Talor and Pi Pi at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Helena Talor and Pi Pi at Karen New Year at Nhill. Pictures: PAUL CARRACHER

John Millington speaking at Karen New Year at Nhill.

John Millington speaking at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Ah Nee, Thee Thee and Simon Soe at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Ah Nee, Thee Thee and Simon Soe at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Tha Blay Sher at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Tha Blay Sher at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Thee Thee at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Thee Thee at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Ma Pane at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Ma Pane at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Paw Blu at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Paw Blu at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Wah Ka Paw Law at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Wah Ka Paw Law at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Wah Ka Paw Law at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Wah Ka Paw Law at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Nhill performers at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Nhill performers at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Khin San Aye, Klow Kler and Pa Naing at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Khin San Aye, Klow Kler and Pa Naing at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Hosts Ku Say and Mu Ra Htoo at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Hosts Ku Say and Mu Ra Htoo at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Victorian mulitcultural commissioner Bin Tchen and interpretor Thamaypaw Naysay at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Victorian mulitcultural commissioner Bin Tchen and interpretor Thamaypaw Naysay at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Horsham perfomers wait backstage at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Horsham perfomers wait backstage at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Nhill Lutheran School students Rachel reichelt, Alison Miller, Starla Colbert, Paw Blu Moo and Matthew Reichelt at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Nhill Lutheran School students Rachel reichelt, Alison Miller, Starla Colbert, Paw Blu Moo and Matthew Reichelt at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Stick dance at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Stick dance at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Thee Dar Shar Pa Koo, Pee pee pa Koo and Mu Thaung Shwe with baby Thee R'Shary Khin Shwe at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Thee Dar Shar Pa Koo, Pee pee pa Koo and Mu Thaung Shwe with baby Thee R’Shary Khin Shwe at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Nhill Lutheran School singing at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Nhill Lutheran School singing at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Cr Ron Ismay, Venerable Moonieinda, Insp Paul Phelan, Bin Tchen, John Millington and Kaw Doh Too at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Cr Ron Ismay, Venerable Moonieinda, Insp Paul Phelan, Bin Tchen, John Millington and Kaw Doh Too at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Twin Star couldn't resist getting on stage with the bamboo dancers at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Twin Star couldn’t resist getting on stage with the bamboo dancers at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Bamboo dance at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Bamboo dance at Karen New Year at Nhill.

Karen New Year at Nhill.

Karen New Year at Nhill.

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Posted on Jan 6 2018

Posted by on Jan 6 2018. Filed under Community, FEATURED, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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