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An Assessment of the Hmong American New Year and Its Implications for Hmong-American Culture

Keywords: Hmong Americans , Asian American Studies

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Abstract:

This author attended the first day of the 2005-06 Hmong New Year in Fresno,1 which was held during the week of December 26 to 31, 2005; and found it to be strongly influenced by commercial, political and informational/educational activities. This was the 30th annual Hmong New Year event celebrated in the United States and it appears to have developed itself into a unique Hmong American festival. It included many elements and traditions from the pre-1975 New Year of the Hmong of Laos. This includes the youth displaying their Hmong traditional costumes, the ball tossing, and the singing of traditional Hmong songs. On the other hand, this New Year event was also dominated by commercial, entertainment, political and informational/educational activities that appeared to be influenced by the American and Western concepts of the market economy, technology and freedom of expression. The Hmong New Yyear in the United States has become a festival that embraces two cultures, nurtured by the Hmong Diaspora and the long-time Hmong strengths of adaptability and flexibility.

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