Minnesota Hmong New Year, cherishing tradition

Minnesota Hmong New Year, cherishing tradition

Minnesota Hmong New Year, cherishing tradition

Thousands of people dressed in traditional Hmong clothing attended the 43rd Annual Hmong New Year in downtown St. Paul RiverCentre. 

The two-day celebration includes traditional Hmong dance, music, crafts, vendors and more. The event also hosted the annual Miss Hmong Minnesota Pageant.

With the Twin Cities being the largest urban Hmong population in the world, those at the event including dancers say it’s important to keep the tradition alive.

“I think dancing is like one of the things that keep me intact with Hmong culture, because I think like nowadays, it’s really hard to like I think keep in touch with Hmong culture,” said Kajshia Yang, a dance competitor at the event.

“It’s like important to help especially Hmong communities like these smaller vendors,” said Touthar Ly.

St. Paul’s Hmong population began nearly 50 years ago following the Vietnam War in 1975.

Organizers say when the Hmong first got to the United States, the State Department gave resettlement contracts to various volunteer agencies, a majority of which just happened to be based in the Twin Cities. 

Multiple waves of Hmong immigrants have resettled in the area since.

The annual event is hosted by United Hmong Family, Inc. who says the Hmong New Year is observed throughout the world and it’s the one event where they celebrate their harvest and thank their ancestors for their sacrifices.

“It’s about harvesting. And at the end of the year, you’re sharing those harvests with everybody. So the Hmong community, you can kind of see it’s very vibrant, with different colors, and everything that was said that comes with it,” said Kalc Vang, event chair for United Hmong Family, Inc.

The annual celebration draws an average of 40,000 Hmong Americans from across the country and even abroad.

Tickets at the door are $12 or you can get it online in advance.