Venue: Vientiane, Oudomxay, Xiengkhouang, Luang Prabang
As every year, Hmong New year is "the first of the 5 new year days" in Laos (before the Lao Theung, Christian, Chinese and finally Lao new year).
This festival takes usually takes place before the end of the twelfth lunar calendar month, when the harvest is finished and foods are abundant.
The New Year Celebration starts on the morning of the first day of the new year and may last three or more days. Festivities of the New Year’s celebration include ball tossing, song contests, Qeej performances and sporting activities, such as top playing, kicking, and bull fighting. Hmong girls are wearing their most elaborately embroidered new outfits.
Around Luang Prabang, 2 villages are holding that festival, on the national 13 (to Vientiane and to Northern Laos), around 5km from the center city.
The Hmong New Year celebration has existed for thousands of years and in recent years has changed considerably. The heritage of this unique celebration was celebrated on the last day of the 12th Lunar Moon each year. Hmong ancestors celebrated this event in their native country of Laos through these various traditional rituals:
- The beginning ceremonies in the Hmong villages in Laos included all family members to pass under a vine symbolizing leaving behind all that was evil and welcoming all that is good
- Families would conduct a soul calling ceremony which would eliminate all bad spirits and provide only good to enter their home
- A cleansing of their bodies were then completed
- Immediately after Midnight the women would go to water wells to collect the "new and clear water" for their families
- Village populations would not work for three days and would partake in special New Year activities-Top (Tuj Lub), and cultural dances. Hmong folk music and song, traditional ball tossing, and other special events