Hmong is the third largest ethnic group in Laos. Besides the other festivals which are regarded as the main festival in Laos such as Boun Pi Mai (Laos New Year), That Luang Festival, or Boat Racing festival, Hmong New Year is also the most important in Laos festival which impresses the fascinating culture and history of the Hmong People, expressing their unique identity. In your Laos Trips, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to attend the Hmong New Year Festival.
When Does Hmong New Year Start?
Hmong New Year is the festival celebrated by the Hmong at the end of the twelfth lunar calendar month usually around November. The Hmong believe that it the time for the beginning of the Lunar New Year after the rice harvest in Laos. The Hmong celebrate the New Year with the believe that honor the ancestors and give thanks for the completion of year’s harvest. During 3 days, the ritual is performed to honor the spirits of ancestors and to provide for the health and safety of the current family in the new year.
Hmong New Year Celebration
At the Hmong New year festival, people can immerse themselves in traditional music which is played with hand-crafted “khaen” bamboo pipes, find the mate to dance, watch energetic bullfights in certain regions of the country. During the festival, people can also enjoy Hmong traditional dishes. During in three days, each day there are 10 dishes. It means that there are 30 dishes – thus the Hmong say “eat 30”. Besides, it’s also time to wear the most beautiful clothes and refrain from speaking critically of others.
The New Year will begin in the household where Hmong families give thanks to their ancestors and various spirits. Especially, this celebration begins by an in house ritual that calls backs the wandering souls of every member in the past to reunite with the household and to help bless the house. A household can also have a local shaman who will help that family worship the healing spirits.
One of the games which are the highlight in the Hmong New Year is Pov Pob, a ball throwing the game. Teenaged boys and girls line up across from each to toss a tennis ball back and forth to one another.
Hmong New Year is regarded as an occasion for both girls and boys. The girls will wait for the boys to come along and chat by passing the ball back and forth. In this way, they can understand who is their partner, who knows by this way, they will start a new relationship that can lead to marriage.
Hmong New Year Outfits
Each outfit varies depending on the specific region where they are from. In the Hmong New Year, the dress up the best outfit which shows their tradition as well as their beauty. Many outfits now incorporate certain styles and elements from various regions. If you see an old woman who is dressed up in a traditional outfit, it is understood that their husband has passed away in time, and they are actively in search of a new one.
Have you planned for Laos trips? A Laos tour to join in the Hmong New Year festival will be your highlight in the Southeast Asia trip. Free contact us to make your trip in the Hmong new year festival!
2 thoughts on “Hmong New Year in Laos”
What are the dates of Hmong New Year for 2019? What is the program? I’m interested in dances and ceremonies. Which day should I be there?
As every year, Hmong New year is “the first of the 5 new year days” in Laos (before the Lao Theung, Christian, Chinese and finally Lao new year).
This festival usually takes place before the end of the twelfth lunar calendar month, when the harvest is finished and foods are abundant.
The New Year Celebration starts on the morning of the first day of the new year and may last three or more days. Festivities of the New Year’s celebration include ball tossing, song contests, Qeej performances and sporting activities, such as top playing, kicking, and bullfighting. Hmong girls are wearing their most elaborately embroidered new outfits.
In 2019, Hmong New Year starts from 10 Nov to 11 Nov
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