|Hmong festival special for young couples|
|Written by Bee|
|Saturday, 27 November 2010 19:55|
Food, music, and ball-tossing highlight event
In Laos, the game is a way for young couples to express their affection for one another and even begin a courtship.
Boys and girls form two separate lines in pairs that are directly facing one another. The pairs toss a cloth ball back and forth, until one member drops the ball. Traditionally, if a player drops or misses the ball, an ornament or item is given to the opposite player in the pair. Ornaments are recovered by singing love songs, called hais kwv txhiaj, to the opposite player.
In the North High field house on Friday, several groups of mostly young people – often times mixed pairs of boys and girls — formed parallel lines and tossed a cloth-covered ball back and forth.
"If you drop the ball you have to buy a flower for the other person," said Kong Phe Vang, 17, a senior at South High School, who stood clutching a small bouquet of flowers, thanks to the fact that his partner Pa Ying Xiong, 14, a South High freshman, seemed to have trouble catching the ball.
They described each other as "just friends."
"Some people exchange phone numbers" when the ball is dropped, Vang said. "It can be an excuse for flirting."
"It used to be that this was the only time during the year that young people had a chance to see each other and spend time together," said Chasong Yang, executive director of the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association, which sponsors the New Year celebration. "Now it's just for fun. Young people see each other in school all year. And they don't know the love songs."
It may be a little different for those who arrived more recently in the United States, however, he said.
"It's a little more serious for them. They come more prepared," Yang said.
It's mostly just an excuse for fun.
That was the case for Seerena Moua, 15, who brought several classmates from Kohler High School, all of them members of the school's drama club.
They were all decked out in traditional Hmong costumes provided by Seerena's mother, Mai See Moua, who participated in New Year events, including pov pob, when she was a girl.
"I was really excited to wear the outfit. I'm not going to lie," said Katie Anderson, 15, one of the friends.
Organizers say they expect more than 4,000 people to attend the three-day event, which began Friday and ends at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Festivities continue today beginning at 8 a.m. Admission is free until 4 p.m. The Muaj Tseeb Band will perform tonight. Admission is $10; children and seniors are free.
A free lunch, served by Sheboygan Hmong Families, also will be served at noon today. Vendors also will be selling food.
A slate of speakers are scheduled today beginning at 10 a.m. The featured speaker will be Wa Meng Yang, the newly elected president of the 18 Clan Council of Wisconsin. Yang's speech will be preceded by welcoming remarks from Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan.
A slide show documenting the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association's 30-year history will be shown throughout this weekend's celebration.
On Sunday, doors open at 9 a.m. There will be more ball tossing, folk singing and food served until 4 p.m., when the event concludes.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 27 November 2010 20:06|