Kayin New Year Day in Myanmar in 2024

Kayin New Year Day in Myanmar in 2024
Kayin cultural dance near Kauke Ka Latt pagoda in Kayin State. Image by Soethuralwin
  How long until Kayin New Year Day?
Kayin New Year Day
  Dates of Kayin New Year Day in Myanmar
2024 Jan 11, Dec 30
MyanmarMon, Dec 30National Holiday
MyanmarThu, Jan 11National Holiday
2022 Jan 2, Dec 22
MyanmarThu, Dec 22National Holiday
MyanmarSun, Jan 2National Holiday
2021 Myanmar Wed, Jan 13 National Holiday
2019 Jan 6, Dec 26
MyanmarThu, Dec 26National Holiday
MyanmarSun, Jan 6National Holiday
2017 Myanmar Mon, Dec 18 National Holiday

This is the New Year of the Karen people, the third largest ethnic population in Myanmar.

When is Kayin New Year?

Kayin New Year is a public holiday in Myanmar observed on the first day of Pyathoe, the tenth lunar month in the Myanmar calendar. This means it usually falls in December or January in the western calendar and can occur in both months in the same year or not at all in some years.

Traditions of Kayin New Year

Kayin New Year is one of the major holidays celebrated by the Karen people. The Karen, also known as Kayin or Kariang, are the third-largest ethnic population in Myanmar accounting for about 7% of the population.

Originally from central Asia, the Karen people arrived in what is now known as Myanmar (Burma) about 3,000 years ago. 

Over the years, many Karens have adopted other religions such as Buddhism and Christianity, though this new year is more agricultural than religious in nature. 

The rice harvest is completed before Pyathoe, and according to Karen traditional religious practice, there must be a celebration for the consumption of the new crop.  

It is also the time to divine the date for commencement of the next crop. 

Typically, this time of year is also when new houses are built, and it is custom to celebrate the completion of a new dwelling. 

Kayin New Year has been a public holiday in Myanmar since 2009, though it was officially first celebrated in 1938. This was done by the British administration as a way of appeasing the Karen who had been pushing for a Karen National day.

The Kayin New Year is an important time when the numerous Kayin communities can join and celebrate their unique cultural identity within Myanmar. Celebrations focus as much on the language, culture and literature of the Karens as much as it does in the arrival of the new year, though the traditional sounding of the Karen horn and drum will be heard across Kayin state to welcome the new year.

Dance contests and kickboxing competitions are held every year in Hpa An, the capital of Kayin State.

The New Year will also be celebrated around the world by the Karen diaspora.

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