Jan 03, 2011

Hmong: New Year Unifies Thousands in Celebration

Strong community ties are for all to see as the traditional Hmong New Year in the United States comes to its close and attentions now look forward

Below is an article published by KMPH 24 Fox:

Most people celebrated on New Year's Eve, but the Hmong community has been ringing in the new year for the past seven days.

Saturday [1 Jnauary 2011] their party came to an end.

Gray skies and rain didn't stop thousands of people from celebrating the last day of the Hmong New Year.

Organizers of the largest and longest running event at the Fresno Fairgrounds, say about 120,000 people came through their gates during their 7-day run.

"Very exciting, it's what I had expected, it's very good," said Charlie Vang, the executive director of the Hmong International New Year Foundation.

It seems a second Hmong New Year event, that went on during the same time, did not affect their crowds.

Organizers of the New Year celebration at the Regional Sports Complex, also saw huge crowds during their week-long event.

"There's no competition, it's just that we'd like to do something as well," said Susan Xiong with United Hmong International.

Xiong says their event drew about 100,000 people during the week.

For people in the Hmong community, the New Year celebration isn't just about having fun, she says it's an important holiday for Hmong families.

"It gets us ready for the new year ahead of us, to leave behind what happened throughout the year, and to get ready for another year to come," said Xiong.

Many New Year revelers we spoke with say they went to both events during the week.

Both featured traditions like singing, dancing, different sports competitions, and the ball toss - a courtship game.

And of course, there's traditional Hmong food, which many say they look forward to enjoying every year.

"Pretty much I came to eat the food. Ate a lot of food," said Leonardo Flores, who attended the event at the Fresno Fairgrounds.