Spring’s ‘New Year in the Park’ celebrates record attendance

INCLUDES CULTURALLY COLORFUL VIDEO | Discover all that this family-friendly gathering in outer East Portland offered to the throngs of folks who attended the daylong celebration in Glenhaven Park …

Activity abounds at the 2023 Cambodian, Lao, Thai, and Burmese New Year at Glenhaven Park celebration.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Thanks to the  pleasant weather, the lifting of COVID restrictions, and folks ready to celebrate, the 2023 edition of Cambodian, Lao, Thai and Burmese New Year at Glenhaven Park turned out to be a big success on April 29.

CLICK HERE to see our story (and video) showing last year’s celebration, which dodged raindrops!

Double rows of canopies were set up for vendors and nonprofit organizations around the huge “big top” tent which featured audience seating and the large stage.

These helpers at THIS all-volunteer-run event – Bouavieng Bounnam and Deng Thepharat – showed off this year’s T-shirt design.

The mission of New Year in the Park is to foster greater understanding and appreciation among various Southeast Asian and greater Portland communities, said Vieng Bounnam, one of the planning committee members.

“This celebration is the most important and largest traditional Southeast Asian cultural festival!” she enthused.

She’s happy about pleasant weather and a good attendance says Vieng Bounnam, one of the members of the planning committee for the New Year in the Park organization.

“It provides the opportunity to offer blessings and honor elders, monks, family, friends, and the community – and, at the same time, gives Southeast Asian communities the chance to come together to celebrate, and to share their rich cultural heritage with the general public,” explained Bounnam.

“The Cambodian, Lao, Thai, and Burmese people’s New Year is different from the ‘Lunar New Year’, often called ‘Chinese New Year’, because it’s based on a different calendar, and takes place after the harvest season in the southern hemisphere.

Just before their performance, representing Laos, these three ladies say the name of their group, which translates into English as The Sincerity Girls.

Inside the big tent, families enjoy performances and lunch.

“Another difference is that it’s based on the Buddhist faith; all the countries represented here are Buddhist communities celebrating their own New Year.”

The free celebration showcased cultural dance and music performances, traditional games, cultural crafts, and activities.

These ladies look happy grilling meats at the Hap Restaurant kiosk.

On a sunny afternoon, folks don’t seem to mind waiting in line to get their favorite freshly-cooked foods.

Vendor booths offered culturally-specific merchandise. And numerous temporary kitchens cooked prepared food that filled the air with a delightful and toothsome aroma.

“It’s important to have this celebration because traditionally, if you think about all these different communities – including the Thai, Cambodian, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma) – they’ll have their own separate temples to celebrate this holiday,” Bounnam observed. “But often, the public is not welcome to come to the temples.

Just after their performance, this group, representing Hmong people, gather for a photo.

“But here, at our celebration here, it’s in a public arena, where we can show how we enjoy our New Year in all our diverse Southeast Asian communities. And more importantly, here we can invite all of our neighbors to come, build friendships and support for one another, and help us become more engaged with our community.”

Watch video highlights of this year’s New Year in the Park celebration:

You won’t see news and information about next year’s celebration posted until near the end of 2023; but when there is news, you’ll see it on their website: CLICK HERE. And, keep watch – we also always list such events on the East Portland News Community Calendar!

On our Front Page: Representing Thailand, Tanawan Teamkitti says she enjoys performing traditional cultural dances in her country’s costumes.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


Comments are closed.

© 2005-2024 David F. Ashton East PDX News™. All Rights Reserved.