Tradition Of The Hmong: Celebrating The 43rd Hmong-American New Year At The St. Paul RiverCentre
By Lacey “G Souldier” Turner
In St. Paul, Minnesota, the vibrant colors, rich traditions, and joyous spirit of the Hmong community come together to mark the 43rd Annual Minnesota Hmong New Year Celebration. Set against the backdrop of the St. Paul RiverCentre in Downtown St. Paul, this two-day extravaganza, taking place on November 25-26, 2023, promises a captivating journey into the heart of Hmong culture through food, clothing, language, music, and dance. The Hmong New Year celebration is a cherished cultural tradition observed annually in areas where large Hmong communities thrive. It is also adapted in modified forms in smaller communities, serving as a unifying force that brings people together to honor their heritage and welcome the promise of a new beginning. The event is a showcase of Hmong ethnic traditions and culture, offering not only a celebration for the community but also an educational opportunity for those intrigued by Hmong traditions. Historically, the Hmong New Year celebration originated as a gesture of gratitude to ancestors and spirits, a time to express thanks and usher in fresh possibilities.
The Hmong people, an ethnic group with a rich cultural heritage, trace their roots to the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Forced migration began during the mid-19th century due to political unrest, cultural differences, and conflicts in the region. In the mid-20th century, the Hmong played a pivotal role in supporting the United States during the Vietnam War, aiding American forces in the secret war in Laos. As the war concluded, the Hmong faced persecution, leading to a mass exodus. Seeking refuge and a chance for a better life, many Hmong families resettled in the United States. The Hmong migration to America brought a vibrant culture to a new land, contributing significantly to the cultural diversity of their adopted home. Today, the Hmong community thrives in various parts of the United States, preserving their traditions while embracing the opportunities for a brighter future.
This year’s celebration promises to be an unmissable experience, with a lineup that includes dance competitions, a singing competition, and the much-anticipated Miss Hmong Minnesota Pageant. The heart of the celebration lies in its ability to bridge generations, preserve cultural identity, and bring unity within the community. Hosted by the United Hmong Family, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to representing the Hmong community and celebrating its roots, the event encapsulates the essence of Hmong culture through intergenerational collaboration, involvement of the Hmong clan structure, and youth leadership. As attendees gather at the St. Paul RiverCentre, they can immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of Hmong culture.
The venue will be adorned with booths featuring a diverse array of vendors, offering a tantalizing glimpse into Hmong traditional foods, intricate clothing, and other cultural artifacts. It’s an opportunity to bear witness to the beauty of Hmong craftsmanship and the richness of their cultural expressions. One of the highlights of the celebration is the traditional Hmong dance, a mesmerizing display of unique movements and styles that have been passed down through generations. This dance not only entertains but also serves as a living testament to the resilience and continuity of Hmong traditions.
The Hmong New Year celebration is more than just a festive gathering; it’s a reflection of the community’s resilience and determination to preserve their cultural identity in the face of evolving times. With the largest urban Hmong population in the world, St. Paul becomes the perfect stage to showcase and celebrate the vibrancy of this unique culture with both Hmong and non-Hmong attendees.
As the Hmong New Year celebrations continue to evolve, adapting to the changing dynamics of the community, what remains constant is the phenomenal commitment to preserving their culture and history. In a world where traditions often face the risk of fading away, the 43rd Annual Minnesota Hmong New Year Celebration stands as a place of cultural pride, unity, and the enduring spirit of a community rooted in its traditions.
The Event will be held:
Saturday, November 25, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 26, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
St. Paul RiverCentre
175 West Kellogg Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55102