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Nyob Zoo Xyoo Tshiab (Happy New Year)

By YWCA of Minneapolis
December 21, 2015
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This year marks the 40th year of the Hmong people living in freedom, in the United States of America. The Hmong people continue to grow and thrive- creating their own communities, as well as contributing to the cities in which they live. The Hmong people continue their traditions, celebrating them according to the calendar year based upon the old days.

Hmong New Year is known as a time to give thanks to an abundance harvest, gather at the end of the year, cast away old habits and adapt to better ones. Historically, the Hmong New Year celebration was created as a way to give thanks to ancestors and spirits, and to usher in a new beginning. Hmong New Year is also a time for single individuals to meet their soon to-be spouse.

Activities include a ball tossing game call pov pob, involving a boy and girl who would toss a hand-made sack back and forth to get to know each other. During this game, many people like to sing folk songs to one another which sounds similar to talking, but in a melodic way, called kwv txhiaj.  The celebrations usually last up to 10 days and occur during November or December.

On November 24th, the Hmong International Academy celebrated Hmong New Year with their students, teachers, families and community partners. There were two scheduled performances (during the day and at night) to accommodate families. Many of the performers are youth enrolled in Hmong International Academy. These youth practiced daily with their peers to put on a great show and showcase their talents, while appreciating their culture. Youth in kindergarten even sung nursey rhymes in Hmong, while wearing handmade Hmong hats. For the night performances, many youth and families dressed in traditional Hmong clothes, ranging from traditional to modern styles. Each outfit is also a representation of the clan to which families belong, and where the clan used to live before coming to the United States.

YWCA Strong Fast Fit and Beacons contributes to Hmong International Academy Hmong New Year by attending committee meetings to plan, assist and provide support to create a wonderful event for our families. As part of the school, the team also dresses up in our traditional garb to encourage participation, as they enjoy a wonderful night in celebrating our successes, ringing in the New Year together.