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Hmong New Year at KM 52 - 2000 (Part 2)

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Published on Mar 22, 2010

I have to be honest, I really like these two videos I uploaded to our YouTube Channel taken during Hmong New Year at KM 52 (Lak ha sip song). I took the bus up from Vientiane so I was all by myself and it was great to be at such an "event" without a lot of falang (white people/foreigners).

For those of you who might not know, KM52 is 52 kilometers north of Vientiane on the main road to Luang Prabang. There is a cluster of Hmong villages in this area and the Hmong New Year event celebrated here is second in size to the organized Hmong New Year event in Xieng Khuang in all of Laos.

December, not only for the Hmong, but for all the Lao is a time to relax a little after the hard work of harvesting all the rice and Hmong New Year in a setting like KM 52 allows Hmong who might live in remote small villages and who have little time to socialize with Hmong from all over Laos.

What you see in this video is what is commonly called "ball tossing" or as is written in Hmong "pov pob." As you can see in the video it's the girls/young women who dress up in their best Hmong New Year clothes and you can see a wide variety of styles here, as you would see in the states. In the past the clothes were probably sewn and embroidered by the young woman or her mother, but now most of what you see is made in China.

I think when I took this video I was thinking of what the father of one of my second grade Hmong students told me when we first met and his daughters were getting dressed up to go to Hmong New Year. He told me he wouldn't go because he didn't like Hmong New Year here in the states because it was like going to a flee market. And I have to admit with music blaring and all the stuff being sold, Hmong New Year is much, much different here in the states as it is celebrated in Laos, though nothing's pure and at such a large event as KM 52 there's a large section devoted to people selling music, food and stuff.

But, in this lightly wooded setting is where they were tossing ball and I felt like that there was something special happening here. The sound of the jostling coins, people talking, music playing (not too loud) in the background, it all came together in a very soothing way and I think the video reflects the slowness and peacefulness in the air. I think it's just fun to watch the video and all the different people you see, throwing ball, carrying babies, mothers watching their daughters, young men at their conversational best. A nice blend...

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