The Naga Traditional New Year festival kicked off in Lahe, Sagaing Region yesterday, with President U Htin Kyaw and wife Daw Su Su Lwin in attendance.
The President expressed his delight to see the unspoiled natural environment in the hilly region, pledging that the Union Government is committed to the socio-economic development of the ethnic people in the area.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, President U Htin Kyaw also called for cooperation from all ethnic people in making efforts for development of the country with the aim of building a federal union without separating the mainland and hilly areas.
The Naga Self-Administered Zone has seen progress to a certain extent, as the responsible ministries have built necessary infrastructures in the zone yearly, said Union Minister for Border Affairs Lt-Gen Ye Aung.
However, there is a limit to development in the region because the hilly areas are not easily accessible, he added.
The incumbent government allotted more than Ks 9 billion to the zone in the nine months since it took office and provided 3,758 bags of rice, said Sagaing Region Chief Minister Dr Myint Naing.
At the ceremony, Chairman of the Naga Literature and Culture (Central) Committee U Aung Htut extended New Year greetings.
U Kay Sai, Chairman of the Naga SAZ, presented New Year gifts to the President.
Before the Naga traditional New Year was officially launched, the President, Union ministers, regional ministers and donors presented aid to local authorities for the development of the zone.
The Naga ethnic people celebrate the traditional New Year on 15th January after their harvest.
The Naga ethnic tribes have held the New Year festival in individual villages, but since 1956-57, chieftains of the ethnic tribes have collectively held the New Year festival in townships.
Since 1993, the Naga Traditional New Year festival has been held with the assistance of the government. The festival has become a state-level festival since 2001, celebrating in Layshi, Lahe and Nanyun alternatively. This year marks the 17th year in which the Naga New Year has been celebrated as a state-level festival. — Myanmar News Agency