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How H'Mong ethnic people in northern Vietnam celebrate Lunar New Year

Invited to the far north for New Year by an ethnic family, I was served rat meat and pig blood soup.

The traditional Lunar New Year of the H'Mong in Ta So village, Moc Chau District, Son La Province, 320 km west of Hanoi, comes a month before that of the majority Kinh and Chinese peoples’.

H'Mong ethnic people, northern Vietnam, Lunar New Year, ethnic family, rat meat, pig blood soup, dance performances,  special dish

The writer with Hmong girls in Moc Chau.

It falls on the first day of the 12th lunar month, on January 6. Together with A Dua, a H'Mong resident of the village, I had my first ever taste of H'Mong Tet.

Before Tet A Dua's family makes a variety of dishes and invites over family members and other guests for a meal. Everyone drinks alcohol and passes a pair of chicken feet around the table.

The H'Mong think the family’s business won’t be good if the chicken legs they are served are too splayed but good if they curl inward.

Though very busy at home during the festival, many young people in Ta So village find time to gather at a house to rehearse for their dance performances on the fourth day of the New Year at the village stadium.

H'Mong ethnic people, northern Vietnam, Lunar New Year, ethnic family, rat meat, pig blood soup, dance performances,  special dish

H'Mong families gather for the Lunar New Year holiday.

The day before the New Year the village is abuzz with excitement. Every house turns on H'Mong music to welcome spring.

On New Year’s Day I accompany A Dua to his relatives' houses and wish them a happy new year. Each family makes a big meal with pork, chicken, rat meat, bread, raw vegetables, pig blood soup, and vegetable soup, and ply guests with leavened corn wine.

The dishes that stand out are rat meat and pig blood soup. The mouse was caught in the mountain and served grilled. It is quite fragrant and delicious, and the meat is firm. The soup, on the other hand, scares me to the point where I don’t dare try it. But I get to see how much they enjoy it.

A small bowl of the soup is passed from one person to another. When it is somebody’s turn, they take their spoon and scoop a bit into their bowl and proceed to eat it with a cup yeast corn wine. After finishing their cup of wine, the guest shakes hands with the person who invited them to have the soup.

Rice cake is a special dish for the H'Mong people, and during Tet they serve it to guests.

The cake is grilled, making it crisp and fragrant. When the guests leave, each is given some cake to take home.

The H'Mong in Ta So village wear colorful traditional clothes during Tet. Young girls and children dress up, put on white silver jewelry and wander around the streets holding hands and play badminton and a traditional H'Mong ball-tossing game.

If the girls don’t go out, they stay at home and gather around a fire to sew old clothes or make new ones.

Because we go to each house in the village to wish people a happy new year, at 8 p.m. we are still deep inside. The deeper you go into the village, the muddier and more difficult the road gets.

The last house on the mountainside astonishes me: there is no electricity, only the dim light of dusk. The children in this house are already asleep, while the adults have had too much to drink and have gone to bed earlier than usual.

H'Mong ethnic people, northern Vietnam, Lunar New Year, ethnic family, rat meat, pig blood soup, dance performances,  special dish

Ta So village.

By the time I leave at almost 11 p.m, I see H'Mong women with lights at every road corner looking for their husbands. During Tet, men often drink excessively. A mist begins to shroud the place, and the freezing cold is in stark contrast to the warm day filled with Tet festivities.

Though life is difficult here, the people of Ta So village are very friendly. When people come to wish them for Tet, they welcome them with open arms.

The warm handshakes of the adults and the affectionate, carefree smile of the kids warm my heart.

What an incredible Tet it had been!

 

Numerous activities conducted to provide warm Tet for the needy
The Da Nang city Department of Industry and Trade in coordination with the city Labour Federation held a spring fair and gathering for poor workers in the city on January 16 to mark the occasion of the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) festival.
 
Vietnamese company to gift cars to top workers for Tet
A company in the northern Hai Duong Province plans to gift 45 cars and 20 electric scooters to its best employees for Tet.
 
MoET Minister Phung Xuan Nha extends Tet Greetings in Bac Giang
(BGO) – On January 16, Phung Xuan Nha, Member of the Central Party Committee, Minister of the Education and Training (MoET) visited, extended Tet Greetings and presented gifts to the teachers and officers working in the educational sector in the northern province of Bac Giang on the occasion of upcoming Lunar New Year. 
 
Over 15,000 tonnes of citrus fruits for Tet market
(BGO) – According to the Division of Agriculture and Rural Development in Luc Ngan district, Bac Giang province, it is the peak harvest season of the sweet orange and pomelo serving to the Tet market. 
 
PM presents Tet gifts to disadvantaged ethnic minority people
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc presented 100 Tet gifts to policy beneficiaries and disadvantaged ethnic minority people in Nui village, Tam Thang commune, Cu Jut district during his working visit to the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong on January 15.
 

Source: VnExpress

H'Mong ethnic people, northern Vietnam, Lunar New Year, ethnic family, rat meat, pig blood soup, dance performances, special dish
 
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