That time of year

Unlike the Kinh and other ethnic minorities in Vietnam, the H'Mong people on Moc Chau Plateau in the northern province of Son La celebrate the lunar new year at the beginning of 12th lunar month, or January 17 this year.

Photos: KIM CUONG on February 06,2018 09:34 AM

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When plum and peach flowers bloom, it's time for H'Mong people to welcome in the New Year

Taking place over three days, a festive spring atmosphere emanates from the wards of Phieng Canh, Long Luong, Tan Lap, Long Sap, Chieng Xuan, and Chieng Son a month beforehand, with lively preparations found everywhere.

The H'Mong people are particularly attentive in preparing to welcome in the new year. Everyone has his or her own job. While women embroider new clothes to wear, the men go shopping for house decorations and ingredients for traditional dishes.

After the three official days, celebrations actually continue until the full moon of the first lunar month, with a range of activities, festivals, and games.

The new year of the H'Mong people is announced by the first crow from a rooster on the eve of the old year. Family members then gather around the fire, telling each other stories about the family and the village or the events of the year just gone.

On the first day, H'Mong men do all the work, including tasks women normally do, from cooking to feeding the livestock. Men are considered the leader of the family, so take responsibility in doing everything during the new year.

On the morning of the first day, young and old alike dress up and gather together in public places to enjoy the new year festival. The sound of flutes and laughter ring out from the local villages.

The H'Mong people believe that strangers visiting during the new year bring good fortune with them. Visitors, including tourists, are therefore warmly welcomed and invited into local people’s homes to eat traditional food prepared only for the new year celebrations.

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