Cul­tures unite for New Year

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

The Wim­mera will con­tinue to es­tab­lish it­self as a multi-cul­tural re­gional Vic­to­rian strong­hold with Karen New Year cel­e­bra­tions in Hor­sham on Jan­uary 12.

Hor­sham and Nhill Karen com­mu­ni­ties have joined forces to present an in­au­gu­ral Hor­sham event and have in­vited Wim­mera peo­ple to get in­volved.

Event spokesman Htoo Kaw Jah said Happy Karen New Year 2758 at Hor­sham Town Hall would fea­ture a morn­ing of colour, food and cel­e­bra­tion.

“We’ve pre­vi­ously only had a cel­e­bra­tion in Nhill in the re­gion but we also have 120 Karen peo­ple in Hor­sham and La­harum. A lot of peo­ple have been ask­ing to have one in Hor­sham, so we are,” he said.

“Not many peo­ple re­alise we have a large Karen com­mu­nity in Hor­sham as well as Nhill.”

Mr Jah said the plan was to al­ter­nate Karen New Year cel­e­bra­tions be­tween Hor­sham and Nhill.

He en­cour­aged peo­ple to bring their friends and fam­ily to the cel­e­bra­tion, which starts at 10.30am and will run un­til 12.30pm.

The cel­e­bra­tion pro­gram will in­clude cul­tural per­for­mances such as a Doe Dance and Bam­boo Dance and a tra­di­tional meal pre­pared by the Karen com­mu­nity.

Or­gan­is­ers have asked at­ten­dees for a gold coin do­na­tion.

Many po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, as well as im­mi­gra­tion ex­perts and ad­vo­cates, con­sider the suc­cess­ful in­te­gra­tion of the Karen peo­ple into Wim­mera com­mu­ni­ties at Nhill and Hor­sham as a re­gional blue­print for na­tional im­mi­gra­tion.

Re­search sug­gests that apart from help­ing to gen­er­ate a broad sense of so­cial in­clu­sive­ness, the so­cio-eco­nomic value of the Karen com­mu­nity to the Wim­mera is in the tens of mil­lions of dol­lars.

More than 4000 Karen peo­ple, mainly from refugee camps along the Thai-burma bor­der, set­tled in Aus­tralia from 2008 and most now live in met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas. Some fam­i­lies, how­ever, were drawn to work and life­style op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered in the Wim­mera.

Peo­ple seek­ing more in­for­ma­tion about the Karen New Year event in Hor­sham can call Htoo Kaw on 0425 000817 or Kaw Doh 0431 311343.

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