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Kind to join Hmong New Year celebration Nov. 12-13 at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Nov. 3, 2011

Hmong New Year
UW-Eau Claire's annual Hmong New Year celebration features traditional Hmong games, entertainment and food.

EAU CLAIRE — A U.S. congressman will be among those helping to welcome in the new year during a Nov. 12-13 Hmong New Year celebration at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, will cut the ribbon to officially welcome in the Hmong New Year at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 12. Kind will then talk about his work with the Hmong population in Wisconsin, as well as his recent trip to Laos and Thailand, where he discussed Hmong refugee issues with government officials.

The annual Hmong New Year celebration — which will run from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 12-13 in the Olson Addition of the McPhee Physical Education Center on upper campus — brings together Hmong and non-Hmong members of the campus and Eau Claire communities to play games, watch performances, listen to speakers and sample traditional Hmong food.

The Hmong New Year marks the end of the harvest season, and is a time for families to give thanks to their ancestors and welcome in the New Year. The most popular holiday celebrated by Hmong people, it is celebrated by focusing on casting away old habits and welcoming new behaviors in life.

Dr. Yang Dao will speak in Hmong about education at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 12. Dao, a scholar, musician and diplomat, is considered one of the preeminent intellectuals to ever come out of Laos, according to the Daily Planet. Currently living in Minneapolis, Dao was previously on the faculty at the University of Minnesota and often speaks about Hmong culture as a guest lecturer.

UW-Eau Claire's Office of Multicultural Affairs will offer information sessions for non-Hmong attendees at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Nov. 12-13 in Room 162 of the Olson Addition of the McPhee Physical Education Center.

Charles Vue
Charles Vue

The 30-minute information sessions — to be led by Charles Vue, associate director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and UW-Eau Claire Hmong students — will focus on the history, culture and values that surround the Hmong New Year.

The game "Pov Pob," a ritual ball-tossing that is a traditional form of courtship for young people, will be played throughout the day during both days of the celebration. Youth talent competitions and other performances also will take place.

Hmong participants are encouraged to wear traditional Hmong clothing to the celebration.

The general admission fee is $3. The event is free for those 65 and older, and 7 and younger.

Vue suggests non-Hmong attendees arrive after 10 a.m. each day to fully enjoy the cultural experience and see a larger audience.

For more information, contact Charles Vue in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, at vuecc@uwec.edu or 715-836-3017, or call the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association at 715-832-8420.

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MC/JB/DW

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