As Cobber students got ready to leave school early to avoid the snow storm for Thanksgiving break. My friends and I were getting ready to be on our way down to the Twin Cities for the annual Hmong New Year Celebration in St. Paul Minnesota held at the Excel Center. Every single year during Thanksgiving the Hmong people celebrate their biggest holiday. It is a 3 day celebration starting the day right after Thanksgiving until Sunday. This event, like how the elders would say, is to bring in the New Year and let go of the old. The New Year involves traditional and modern competition in dancing and singing as well as a popular pageant for the girls. The pageant is one of the most important aspects of the New Year where girls show off their talent, self-design clothing, and their clan name. When I say clan name it is because there are 18 clan names in the Hmong culture, which is the last name. Girls and guys with the same clan name are not allowed to get married. It is a traditional rule within the Hmong culture.
During the 3 day event, there are also a lot of different food booths and a huge market area for purchasing traditional clothing, movies, music, and miscellaneous things. Not only is it for entertainment, but also for courtship. Back in the old days, parents would go to the New Year with their son and scope out the girl that they thought was best for their son. Some people call it â€œwife-hunting.â€ The courting starts off when a girl is chosen to play ball toss. A clothed ball is used to play a game of exchanging items and singing folk songs to each other. If the ball is a good throw and is not caught an item is exchanged. This way the boy and the girl can converse and get to know each other. The girl can refuse to ball toss if a boy asks and she is not interested. It is also not okay for a boy to ball toss with another boy because it is consider taboo. But it is okay for girls to ball toss with each other. The game can end whenever one wants to end it. This is a little bit about the Hmong culture and how its traditions are carried out. The Hmong New Year is an exciting and learning experience for those who do not know. This particular Hmong New Year in St. Paul is the most popular one aside from ones in California, Oklahoma, North Carolina, etc.
After a weekend of learning about the Hmong culture my friends and I were ready to get back to campus and finish our pile of homework.