By Padade M. Vue, M.D. and Kong Xee Xiong, Hmong American Association of Colorado President
Nyob zoo xyoo tshiab! Happy New Year! The Hmong Colorado community celebrated their New Year (noj peb caug) November 29-December 1, 2013 at the Adams County Fairgrounds. This is an annual tradition dating back to the 1980’s in Colorado and an even older tradition in Laos.
Historically, Hmong New Year is based on the lunar calendar and is a time to welcome the New Year, celebrate the fall harvest, and encourage courtship through ball tossing for the younger generation who wear their finest clothes and jewelry.
Though ball tossing has become less common as a form of courtship, many people still dress up in Hmong clothes and jewelry. The celebration does last several days allowing people to attend the event to see the new fashion in Hmong American clothes, entertainment (movies, karaoke DVDs, music), and of course, see friends and family members.
This year, the Hmong New Year Committee headed by chairman Mr. Kou Chang, introduced a sports tournament featuring kato, top spin, and volleyball as well as the 2nd Annual Miss Hmong Colorado Pageant and singing and dance contest in addition to the performances by traditional Hmong dancers, singers and skit by the Hmong Student Association of Colorado.
The keynote speaker was Professor Cher Teng Yang, who along with Dr. WatPhat Lee, also honored Colorado Hmong students that attained graduate degrees. In attendance were city officials from Westminster (Mayor Herb Atchison, Bob Briggs, Emma Pinter, and Faith Winter). Other participants included: dancers from the Polynesian, Filipino, and Thai communities.
This event usually draws out most of the Hmong community in Colorado and is one that is anticipated each year. As with each
New Year, we wish everyone good health, happiness, and wealth until we can celebrate again next year around Thanksgiving. The event is open to the public, and tickets are available at the door. We invite you to join us next year.