Dandenong Buddhists celebrate new year

Star News Group, April 18, 2007

Dandenong, Australia -- GREATER Dandenong’s Thai, Cambodian, Laos, Burmese and Sri Lankan communities celebrated the Songkran, the Buddhist new year this week.

The three-day celebration fell on 14,15 and 16 April and was marked at temples around Greater Dandenong.

Greater Dandenong mayor Youhorn Chea, who was born in Cambodia, said it was a festive time for the communities. “The tradition has long been celebrated providing families with an opportunity to get together, allowing youngsters the chance to pay respect to their elders and for the elders to bless the younger members of the family,” he said.

“It is a time of community, friendship, and renewal of ties.”

The Songkran celebration is divided into three days: Maha Day, the last of the year; Klang or Nao Day, the eve of the new year; and Thaloengsok Day, which is new year’s day.

“I am so proud to be the mayor of one of the state’s most culturally diverse communities,” Cr Chea said.

“The Songkran Festival is one example of communities embracing their motherland cultures and sharing with their neighbours who are from all corners of the world.”