In December 2010 Karen Christians and Karen Buddhists joined together
to hold the first Karen Christmas Festival in Bendigo.
Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus.
Karen Christians regard Jesus as the Son of God, fully divine and fully
The Dalai Lama has said Buddhists can regard Jesus as a
"bodhisattva", or enlightened being who sacrifices himself for the
benefit of all living beings.
In Burma and in refugee camps in Thailand, Karen people have
developed their own culturally specific ways of celebrating Christmas.
At the Karen Christmas Festival Australians join with Karen people
celebration that includes interfaith prayers for peace in Burma, Karen
Christmas carols, traditional Karen dancing, and food that includes
roasted chicken and pork, and sticky rice.
By celebrating Christmas together, Karen Christians share what is
most precious to them - Jesus - with their Australian and Karen Buddhist
brothers and sisters.