Despite wet weather, thousands of residents made their way to the Merced County Fairgrounds last weekend as part of the annual Hmong New Year celebration.
Complete with a men’s and women’s pageant competition, a talent show, traditional food, dress and dance, sports tournaments, and more, the festivities took place over the course of three days.
Visitors were greeted with the sounds of multiple live performance acts and activities such as volleyball and soccer games. Those looking to find gifts for loved ones were able to peruse dozens of specialty vendors offering everything from traditional clothing and food to movies and instruments.
Since immigration to the United States, the Hmong population has celebrated their annual New Year in Merced County. Over three decades, many traditional and cultural activities have changed, particularly for the younger generation. The original purpose of the Hmong New Year was to gather family and friends together for days of rest and relaxation; to honor ancestors; to give thanks for the completion of the year’s harvest; and to call for a prosperous New Year.