What Are Some Cultural Aspects of the Hmong New Year?


Quick Answer

The Hmong new year is celebrated on the 12th lunar month. Festivities include private and public rituals intended to bring renewal to the community. Hmong ethnic food, poetry, music and elaborate clothing are all part of the celebration.

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Full Answer

The private rituals of the Hmong new year focus on the spiritual and physical renewal of the home and family. Hmong family leaders cleanse the house of evil spirits by sweeping it with fresh bamboo leaves. The family feasts together and offers sacrifices and food to spirits of the home and to deceased loved ones.

The next morning, the community gathers for the public new year celebration, known as the Festival of the 30th. The day is filled with performances of traditional folk songs and poetry. The songs reinforce Hmong culture by dwelling on themes such as the proper conduct and the hardships of life for the Hmong community.

The main event of the festival is "pov pob," a ball tossing game among the men and women of the community. Single men and women, young and old, participate in this traditional way of getting to know members of the opposite sex. Maintaining good composure and conversation helps an individual find a potential future spouse. In preparation for the courtship rituals, Hmong women labor the whole year to create elaborately stitched costumes.

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