Mon National Day Celebrations Allowed in Rangoon for the First Time in 17 Years

Mon National Day Celebrations Allowed in Rangoon for the First Time in 17 Years


Friday, February 03, 2012

The 65 anniversary of Mon National Day was allowed to held legally in Rangoon by the Burmese government this year, which was first time for 17 years according to Mon sources.

Mon people celebrate the 64th anniversary of Mon National Day in Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State. (Photo: Akar)

Nai Soe Kyi, who is the secretary of the Mon National Day Committee in Rangoon, said, “We are very happy, not only me, all Mon people here are very happy about it.”

In the past 17 years, the Burmese military regime has only allowed Mon people to hold their national day in Mon State, but was not allowed in Rangoon.

There are about 10,000 Mon people in Rangoon and even there are over 40 Mon Buddhist monasteries.

The Mon people have gathered secretly in the past to hold their national day, however they could only hold small events. During these celebrations, to which not all Mon in Rangoon could be invited due to security fears, the people donated food to Mon Buddhist monks.

The Mon National Day Committee in Rangoon has planned this year to invite all Mon people in Rangoon and to include other ethnic nationalities to join their national day, now that it can be held legally and without interference from the government.

“We proposed permission in the past to hold our national day. But, they never give it. We need to say thanks to this new government for giving us permission,” said Nai Soe Kyi.

Many Mon from Mon State and from overseas welcomed the permission to allow the people in Rangoon to hold their national day.

The permission to legally hold Mon National Day in Rangoon came from the Yangon Division of the Prime Minister's Office according to Mon National Day Committee in Rangoon.

The Mon will celebrate their National Day on February 8 in this year such in Moulmein, Mudon, Thanbyuzayat, Ye and other townships in Mon State.

Celebrants in red and white Mon national dress will give alms to the monks and participate in prayers for famous leaders in Mon history. Displays of traditional dancing will also be held.

National Day commemorates the day when the first Mon kingdom, Hongsawadee, was established in the year 1116 of the Buddhist Era, or 573 CE.

The Mon have kept their national day alive for more than 60 years despite the Burmese authorities having discouraged overt displays of Mon nationalism, because of fears that it would encourage anti-regime sentiments.

Although the Mon fought alongside the Burmese in the struggle for freedom from British colonial rule, the Mon won no independence for themselves.

Meanwhile, the New Mon State Party (NMSP), the political wing of the main armed ethnic group in Mon State, agreed to five points in peace talks with the Burmese government held in Moulmein on the first of February and the NMSP may sign a peace agreement on the third week of this month.


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