Nov 06, 2012

Hmong: New Year’s Celebrations

Last weekend the Hmong New Year was celebrated with festivities honouring Hmong culture.


Below is an article publised by Green Bay Press Gazette:

A celebration of the Hmong New Year on Saturday [3 November, 2012] brought together young and old alike in an event filled with games, food, good cheer and pride.

“I love to see so many children and young men and women dressed in Hmong clothes,” said Hmong New Year Committee Chairman Xang Lee. “It’s the one time of year in our community that it is cool to be Hmong.”

More than 1,000 people attended the celebration Saturday [3 November 2012] at the Greenheck Field House at D.C. Everest Senior High School, with more expected to attended festivities today. Teenagers played the traditional ball-tossing game, called pov pob, while Hmong music blasted in the background. Some vendors sold Hmong food favorites, such as sausage and rice, egg rolls and bubble tea, while others peddled DVDs, CDs, clothing or health care products.

Young children and elders alike dressed in costumes adorned with bright colors, beads and metal, which jangled when they walked or danced.

The celebration comes from Hmong tradition in Laos, when families would take time to rest after the busy harvest season was finished, typically sometime in mid-November.

The new year is an event for everyone in the central Wisconsin community, said Lee, who switched between speaking Hmong and English to benefit the non-Hmong people in the audience. As he spoke to a group of hundreds, he said he was glad to see such a wide range of ages.

While some young Hmong people said the new year is a way to celebrate their culture, they don’t see it as the only time of year to be proud of their heritage.

Pakou Xiong, 20, and Xue Thao, 21, both of Wausau and Chee Yang, 20, of Stevens Point, said they like the sense of camaraderie and togetherness that comes with the new year celebration — it provides an opportunity to see old friends and make new ones — but they find other events to attend and ways to understand their heritage, especially through their university. They were at the event representing the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

“It’s a celebration of Hmong culture and heritage,” Thao said. “It’s meant for Hmong people, but we invite everyone to come.”