It is officially November! Do you know what that means? The holidays are right around the corner; Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and many more holidays celebrated in the United States. Well, the end of the year also brings the new year, so in celebration the Hmong people noj peb caug, which many people know to be (and is directly translated to) “eating 30”!
This celebration happens once a year, many Hmong still living in South East Asia will spend the entire year preparing for this event. The living situation is much different, so they must spend a lot of time saving up money, sewing new clothes and maintaining their livestock. Here in the United States, these things are more accessible – money, clothing and food. In this case, the Hmong in the United states only partake in preparations when they are ready to noj peb caug.
During this event, the father of the family will call the wandering spirits of his children. Then he will honor the ancestors by replacing the old shrine with a new one; he will call the ancestors to have a meal and will ask them for good wealth and prosperity.
A widely known superstition during this time is to refrain from spending money, I remember when I was a little girl, my mom would always tell me to refrain from spending money for three days. It is believed that if you do not spend money during these days, the next year you will make more money.
There is also a community celebration that many know as the “Hmong New Year”; this is when the entire community come together to celebrate the coming of a new year. This is where the new clothes come in; people will dress up in their best clothing. These celebrations are still popular to this day. The best known New Years take place in Minnesota, California and North Carolina because these areas have a large Hmong population.
What holidays or traditions do you celebrate?