If you are a foreigner and traveling to North Vietnam in the New Year period, you want to explore the tribe people, don’t forget to discover how the Hmong people celebrate New Year.
Hmong is one of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam and lives mostly in the mountainous area in North Vietnam such as Mu Cang Chai, Sapa, Ha Giang, Lai Chau, Son La. There are many types of Hmong people with different customs, clothes but similar cultures, especially the customs to celebrate the New Year.
In the past, Hmong people celebrate their own New Year following Hmong calendar, one month before Vietnamese or Chinese New Year. But now, with the new policy, they also celebrate New Year at the same time with Vietnamese people, between the end of January to February, it’s the biggest festival here.
How to prepare New Year of Hmong people
Before New Year 1-2 months, every house will prepare pig, chicken, wood, the women sew the new traditional clothes for every member of the family for a few months before.
Cleaning the house and decorating the ancestral altar are the important tasks of the old year. The old man will choose a green bamboo shoot and tie three green, red and yellow strings with incense to make a broom. In Hmong belief, they think that the broom will sweep away sickness, illness, the bad luck of the old year and bring good luck to the family in the New Year. The altar is put in the middle of the house, it looks simple and is recognized by 3 stick papers and chicken tail. It is prepared carefully, clean by bamboo broom, and decorative with many offering such as fruit, food, wine, tea, rice cake.
They also stick the yellow or red papers on every item of furniture such as hoes, knife, plow, tree, animal lodging, etc on the three days of Tet. It’s time to rest of labor tools. According to the H’Mong people, the three days of Tet is the occasion for the owner to show their gratitude to these labor tools, consider them as good friends. 10 days later, these tools will be used again for daily work. In the traditional Tet holiday, H’Mong people always worship house ghost and working tools. These items help H’mong people to live well.
The most important traditional dish of Hmong people in New Year is “ Banh Giay”. It’s a round cake made from good quality rice and is pound by strong men. While the traditional cake of Vietnamese people in New Year is Chung cake with a square shape, represent for the earth, the traditional Giay cake of Mong people is round which symbolizes the moon and the sun – the origin of the human and the earth. It is used as offerings to ancestors, and people pray for a fulfilled and prosperity for the coming year.
What activities during the New Year festival
On the three first days of New Year, the Hmong people will visit relative or neighbor houses, wishing them happiness and property year, drink wine together. The youth boys and girls wear beautiful new traditional clothes and hang out to go to the festival. They play many interesting traditional games such as Throwing cotton ball games, play badminton by Hmong style…The ball tossed from women to the men signifies yin-yang harmony, as well as a means for young people to possibly seek a new lover.
In the New Year festival, the men often blow Khen – a traditional music instrument or Stick pushing game. Everyone wants to show their health and strength, which is very important with Hmong people because their main work is agriculture.
Each minority group in Vietnam has different customs to celebrate the New Year, but they always wish to have a good fortune in the coming year with good weather, cultivate, healthy and happiness.
If you are a foreigner and traveling to North Vietnam in the New Year period, don’t forget to explore the interesting culture of Hmong people. You can choose to travel with a local guide, who can explain to you the culture of Vietnamese as well as minority people. Besides enjoying the landscape in Spring, discover the different and interesting culture will make your Vietnam trip is unforgettable. You can choose to travel with a local guide, who can explain to you the culture of Vietnamese as well as minority people.
If you are visiting Vietnam during the Tet holiday, you should learn the important phrase: “ Chuc mung nam moi” – Happy New Year!
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Where can you meet Hmong people in Vietnam?
Hmong people lived in North mountain Vietnam, you can meet and explore more culture of Hmong people in Mu Cang Chai, Sapa, Ha Giang, Son La, Lai Chau.
There are some travel guide to travel Mu Cang CHai: https://zonitrip.com/mu-cang-chai-travel-guide-things-to-know/