Cultures unite for New Year
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.