It felt like a lethargic somber weekend as the cold Minnesota wind blew through St. Paul, MN, nevertheless, the Hmong New Year Celebration at the River Centre didn’t skip a beat as thousands of Hmong Minnesotans and Wisconsinites congregated for welcoming the New Year and as the old saying goes, “throwing out the old one.”
The St. Paul Hmong New Years is held traditional with the sponsorship of the Hmong/Lao Family Foundation and making it the 32nd Anniversary Year of this event since its grand establishment.
This is a “blast from the past.” In olden times, Hmong-Laotians were scattered in tribal communities and commuting to each village meant an arduous adventure of a few hours to a few days by feet. Communities then, usually consists of a close knit kinship of immediate family members to cousins and friends. As this was typical in most villages, many would carry the same surname and to courtship with the same name was a taboo to the Hmongs. So, because of this very notion a system was concocted to get young adults together between villages during the ending days of harvest.
In present day times this is better known as our traditional Hmong New Year’s Festival. Just like the old days, we now have these gatherings between cities and townships, ever-alternating so one event won’t be on the same weekend as the others.
This festive event would include programs with live entertainment seen similar as America’s Got Talent, but a mini-version and mainly including only of Hmong ethnic nationalities in the diverse talents in the ever-competitive pursuit for recognition and the grand prize money; mainly, in modern to traditional dancing and singing.
As a long tradition with the Hmong New Year celebration, it is most recognized for the Hmong Beauty Pageant. This year’s beauty pageant comprised of 17 young Hmong hopefuls competing for the covetous 2009 title as Miss Hmong-Saint Paul and the grand prize of $7,000.00.
Aside from their innate physical beauty, these 17 Hmong beauties are evaluated from a line of judges that would grade tedious aspects outside of their good looks, such as: individual posture, individual stage walk-through, individual live performance (normally singing or dancing), their individual answer to a given question and finally, one’s appeal and magnetism towards the audience.
Ka Bao Vang
Pa Kuab Ib Yang
Ka Siab Yang
Thousands cheered along and roses and flowers were given to each finalist on their walk-through to center stage by anonymous fans, but as you all know there can only be 1 in the crowning of this year’s Miss Hmong-St. Paul 2009.
Congratulations to Miss Hmong-Saint Paul 2009!
Miss Hmong-St. Paul 2009: Ka Bao Vang
2nd runner-up: Ka Siab Yang
3rd funner-up: Pada Xiong
Such a task for becoming the Miss Hmong-St. Paul 2009 comes with a stipulated contract that the young winner has to abide by. Initially the crowned princess is awarded with $6,000.00 of the prize and the remainder to be awarded later if she doesn’t break the contract. She has to fulfill her duties as Miss 2009 and this is what she has to follow:
Being Miss 2009 includes:
1. Crowned princess cannot get married until the year is over—if married within the year, she will lose her crown; in addition the crown will go to the second runner-up and will have to forfeit the 1 thousand dollar initially given to her.
2. Be a role model to the Hmong community.
3. Represent the Hmong people—in other words, she’s obligated and is responsible for being at every gathering involving General Vang Pao and or the Hmong community.
Although there was only 1 winner to be crowned, I think, with this competition it would bring prospecting future female leaders into our communities so don’t doubt yourself too much ladies as this is a valuable learning process for all who’s competing.
Like usual the hundreds of Hmong entrepreneur had their mini-stations set up selling from the array of authentic Hmong textiles and goods. Musicians and artists alike were present to market their products, in addition to seeing the vast varieties of new Hmong movies gives me hope that this smaller market is on the rise as it is getting better year by year.
Impossible to differentiate from any Hmong gathering is the authentic Hmong food at the food court, which is my favorite part during any tournament or New Year celebration. Anytime there are good foods and friends, tantamount to a fun time.
We, at Hmoodle.com wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday and best wishes to you and your family as we say goodbye to the old year and say hello to the new. Whether your religion is Shamanism or a follower of the new wave of the many religions that we see in America, this union of the celebrating the New Year will carry us into the future as our consanguineous thread will link us forever as Hmong people.
If you have any questions, comments, or requests you can reach me at [email protected]