Hmong New Year returns to St. Paul

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For the first time since the start of the pandemic, thousands of Hmong community members put their culture on display in St. Paul to celebrate the Hmong New Year.

Hmong New Year is celebrated throughout the world and one of the biggest celebrations is taking place at the St. Paul RiverCentre.

The two-day event is being held on Nov. 26-27 from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

“We’re all connected again and this is my first time coming. It’s good seeing everybody here at once,” Chiashee Ly, attendee, said.

From every corner of the St. Paul RiverCentre, you can see and hear Hmong culture.

“It feels great. We look forward to this every year,” Ka Lor, vendor, said.

Vendors featured cultural wear at their shops bursting with bright colors and beading. In Hmong fashion, every stitch tells a story.

“Back in the day, we went to sew these by hand and if you had money or coins, it represented wealth and families,” Lor said.

The Hmong New Year marks a time for the community to take a step back and reflect while celebrating their harvest and thanking ancestors for their sacrifices.

“It’s important that we come together as a community and just show that, ‘Hey, we’re here,’” Chang Thao, attendee, said. “We have this great culture that we would like to share with everybody.”

The festival draws tens of thousands of Hmong Americans from across the world to eat cultural food, enjoy performances and vendors.

“It is so heartwarming. This is one of my favorite events in our Hmong tradition in our own community,” Nelsie Yang, St. Paul City councilmember, said.

Yang became the first Hmong American woman to be elected to the St. Paul council. 

She said her community is making strides in the present and this event helps them remember the past and who paved the way.

“We have so much history here and to be able to celebrate our traditions is so remarkable,” Yang said.