Vietnam’s Hmong people celebrate traditional New Year

Tet – the national new year celebration of the Vietnamese – is still nearly three weeks away but the Hmong people in Son La, a mountainous province in northwestern Vietnam, have already celebrated their traditional version of this special occasion. Plum blossoms can be seen covering the hillsides of Son La as people take a break from their farming work, donning colorfully embroidered clothes and enjoying a variety of different activities to celebrate Tet, a way to refer to the Lunar New Year, which begins on February 16. The Hmong, one of the 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups, welcome the New Year during the first three days of the last lunar calendar month, as opposed to the national Tet, which is held a month later. For the last four years, four villages in Chieng Lao Commune, Muong La District, Son La have organized a banh giay pounding competition. Banh giay is a round Vietnamese traditional glutinous rice cake. It is typically used as offerings to ancestors and deities during Tet whilst people pray for a fulfilled and prosperous year to come. Early in the morning, the men prepare a large mortar and mallets used to pound banh giay, while the women carefully collect the most suitable batch of glutinous rice and cook it until sticky. The hot sticky dough is evenly crushed. Photo: Tuoi Tre The men then put the cooked dough into the large mortar and start pounding. After this has been completed, the women then rub egg yolk on… [Read full story]

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