First Burmese Buddhist festival held in Norway

Democratic Voice of Burma, Oct 17, 2005

Sorasund, Norway -- Burmese Buddhist festival Abidama Day (Thadingyut Festival) was held for the first time in Norway at an old people home in Sorasund on 17 October.

The event was attended by around 50 Burmese Buddhist refugees led by elected representative Bo Thaung and 30 Norwegian friends. The religious ceremony was performed by Reverend Withudi who expressed his joy at the successful celebration of the festival for the first time despite difficulties, and thanked all those who helped the event to happen.

The celebrants offered oil lamps to Lord Buddha, listened to the sermons of the monks and paid their obeisance to old folks. A similar ceremony was held by Burmese tsunami victims in southern Thailand at Phuket District.

Meanwhile, the National League for Democracy (NLD) members at Aunglan (Allen), Magwe Division in central Burma, were barred from celebrating a Kahtein (Katina) festival by the local festival on the day. Buddhist monks have been pressurised not to take part and those who tried to organise and take part in the religious festival was also summoned, warned, harassed and intimidated by local authority agents from Special Branch (SB).

In Rangoon, although ordinary citizens were not allowed to celebrate the festival communally, family members of the ruling generals and their friends and cronies, were allowed to celebrate the festival freely in whatever form they want.