Hundreds of Hmong gather at Crowder College for a traditional New Year's celebration.
Traditionally in Laos, the Hmong people would celebrate the New Year after the harvest.
On Saturday at Crowder College, the Hmong and others gathered to keep the tradition going, as the third annual Southwest Missouri Hmong Association presented the New Year Celebration.
Usually, the new year was celebrated after the harvesting season, which happens at the end of November or the first or second week in December.
“Everyone worked hard during the harvest season and we would take time from the farms,” said Cheng Vang, with the Hmong committee. “We would get families together and unite with them. It is also a time to have the younger generation come to celebrate. Celebrate the past year and welcome the new year.”
The first year of the celebration was held in Monett, while last year’s celebration was held in Wheaton.
“We needed more space,” said Amie Moua, 21.
According to information provided, “the new year was set for seven days, which gave the family members enough time to rest and have fun. Most importantly, it is also a meaningful gathering event for the elders to reunite their families and friends for the ongoing seven days fest and feast, drink and drunk, eat and fun. In contrast, the young boys and girls, single man and woman are very busy tossing ball and singing love song all day long without food which meant to search for their life long partner.”
The organization chose Saturday for the celebration, but from Dec. 8-14, the celebration will be observed in Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.
Those in attendance had the opportunity to see traditional ball tossing, dances, music and a Hmong feast, comprising of chicken, rice and egg rolls.
Watching the Hmongs, one might have seen colorful outfits.
“The costumes tell where they are from, some from China, from Laos, some from Thailand,” Vang said.
Moua was seen in traditional costume.
“I started dancing around the age of 12,” Moua said. “I have not danced traditional in awhile.”
Red and green are the two main colors in a traditional Hmong costume. Pointing to the mid-section of her costume, Moua described her clothing.
“These are all hand-quilted,” said Moua. “A lot of the older ladies will sit down and do it.”
Moua said her mother did her outfit.
“I have learned a little bit to do little stuff,” said Moua.
Moua was born in the United States and said that her parents came to the United States in almost 30 years.
Moua, who attended a University of Wisconsin , moved down here to help her parents out.
“I moved down here to help my parents on their chicken farm, to help translate,” said Moua.
In a few months, Moua will go to Laos for the first time. Her father has been back.
“He has been back to see his relatives,” Moua said.
The Hmong people have maintained their own language, customs, and ways of life, while adopting the ways of the country in which they live. In the 1960s and '70s, many Hmong were secretly recruited by the CIA to fight against Communism during the Vietnam War. After American armed forces pulled out of Vietnam, a communist regime took over in Laos and ordered the prosecution and re-education of all those who had fought against its cause during the war.
Since 1975, many Hmong fled Laos in terror to countries such as the United States. ?
Neosho Daily News