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home : community : community Wednesday, May 22, 2019

12/16/2016 2:46:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
2017 Hmong New Year - Unity, Happiness and Love

By Bill Thao

Crowning of Cib Xyooj Miss Hmong Minnesota 2016
Within the month of November, Thanksgiving was not the only traditional holiday that was celebrated with grateful words, socializing, and enjoying a delicious turkey, but one of the biggest events of the year was also held within the Hmong community known as the Minnesota Hmong New Year Festival from November 25th-27th. The Minnesota Hmong New Year was hosted by Hmong Family Foundation and held at the St. Paul RiverCentre. The Minnesota Hmong New Year welcomed local and nationwide Hmong residents from Minnesota and across the United States to celebrate the end of the harvest season.

The origin of the Hmong New Year was celebrated after a year of arduous work; therefore Hmong families set aside their farm tools, dressed up in their hand-crafted paj ntaub (embroidery) dresses, outfits, and sang kwv txhiaj (lyrical songs) while playing a courtship game called pov pob (ball toss). The modern Hmong New Year is a time for talent competitions that include singing, dancing, a beauty pageant and other arts and talents. This year there were two contestants that competed in the pageant. According to Miss Hmong Teen 2012, Kasia Lee, "I do applaud and congratulate those two young women for going forth with their competition and putting in their absolute best." Congratulations to Miss Hmong Minnesota 2017, Cib Xyooj, and Miss Hmong Minnesota 1st runner up, Kablia Lis.

Aside from the competitions and talent shows, the Minnesota Hmong New Year had vendors all around catering to the attendees. This year there were numerous vendors such as Creative Results, Nexvision Financial Group, Minneapolis Police Department, We Support Dylan Yang and many more. The vendors offered services, scholarships, benefits, prizes, food, movies and much more keeping attendees busy with continuous activities to enjoy. There were photo booths, such as Hmong Tojsiab Photo Booth, that was set up to capture memorable photos of families, parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren. According to Dr. Zha Blong Xiong, associate professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota, the Hmong New Year was a wonderful success. "I'm impressed, this year was phenomenal." Once you arrived to RiverCentre, you sensed numerous features that made the Hmong New Year eventful: the rattling of coins, the smell of delicious varieties of Hmong food, the echoed singing, and the colorful traditional dresses and outfits from little toddlers to wise elders.

This year, we continued to see faces from different generations. Elders, younger, mid-age groups; children and teens hanging out with their friends and doing some traditional ball tossing courtships; some celebrating their Hmong roots. We also continued to see different nationalities joining us, who sought to learn the Hmong culture, history, and experience the Hmong New Year. Brendan Jerome, who was dressed in Hmong embroidery outfit, said, "The Hmong New Year is fun - the performances and the different culture."

The Hmong New Year continued to serve Hmong food such as curry noodle, Hmong sausage, and eggrolls. In addition, western refreshments such as ice cream, chicken tenders, and mini-donuts were served. Action movie, Theej Txhoj Tuag, and horror movie, Nyab Tsim Niam Tuag, were seen on posters hanging over vendors. The vendors not only included numerous movies, but talented musicians such as Nraug Laus Band and Daneng Hang selling the work of their music.

Board member of the Hmong 18 Council, Txawg Xab Kwm, gave a speech on the accomplishments of the Hmong community. "We have come a long way since arriving in this country," recalled Txawg Xab Kwm. "Five or six decades ago the number of Hmong people who were able to speak English could be counted by some on only a few fingers. Look at us today - today, the sons and the daughters of the Hmong community among the ranks of those who write English and shape public policies as elected officials, as a senator, as a representative state legislator, as city councilmembers."

Within Hmong New Year 2017, there continued to be unity, happiness, and love within the Hmong community. Secondly, there continues to be imminent musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs successfully coming into the Hmong community. Lastly, individuals continue to successfully grow within their lives.

Therefore, in the words of Txawg Xab Kwm, "May good health and prosperity be with you."

Happy New Year (Zoo Siab Xyoo Tsiab)!

St. Paul, MN



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