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ISSUE 118 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/5/2004

Festivities offer Hmong food, fun

By Aaron Johansen
Staff Writer

Friday, November 5, 2004

Festivities offer Hmong food, fun By:Aaron Johansen

On Nov. 13, St. Olaf students and members of the Northfield community are invited to celebrate the Hmong New Year in the Pause.

Hmong New Year, sponsored by the Hmong Awareness Group in conjunction with Carleton College, will offer information about the Hmong New Year and will feature traditional dances, costumes, singing and flute playing.

The Minnesota Hmong community is one of the largest in the United States, ranking only behind those in California and Wisconsin.

Recently, Hmong immigration rates have increased due to oppressive conditions in the countries of Laos, Thailand and Burma.

Organizations such as the Hmong Center and St. Olaf's Hmong Awareness Group have made their goal spreading information about the Hmong culture.

Traditionally, the Hmong New Year stretches over a period of 10 days. In that time, families celebrate a new beginning and make 30 different dishes.

The New Year symbolizes the end of the Harvest and is a time when people relax, reflect and look forward to a better year ahead.

Participants wear formal clothing because the New Year also symbolizes courtship and was traditionally when young Hmong people would get married.

The intricate embroidery of the traditional Hmong dress saved the language from extinction.

Beautiful and usually homemade, these costumes are now an important part in the Hmong New Years celebrations both on and off the stage.

St. Olafs celebration of this event will coincide with Hmong New Years celebrations around the world.

Though the event is usually semi-formal, casual dress is welcome.

A highlight will be a Prince Charming Pageant, and free food will be provided.

Matt Vang 07 and Neenah Yang 06 are the co-chairs of the Hmong Awareness Group at St. Olaf.

One of the larger cultural awareness groups on campus, the Hmong community always looks forward to sharing its culture.

"The traditional Hmong New Year is a time of rejoicing and celebration. It is my hope that students and families will attend this event to have a good time and to take home a little piece of the Hmong heritage," Vang said. "If anything, theres free food."

Any students interested in joining the group or finding out more about the on-campus Hmong New Year celebration can e-mail Matt Vang at

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