Young Hmong embrace their heritage - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Young Hmong embrace their heritage

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WESTON (WAOW) -- The Hmong New Year Celebration serves as an annual reminder of tradition and family history.

Hli Xiong grew up in America, but her family is originally from Laos and Thailand.

She said her mother wants her to know their cultural background no matter the distance.

"She says when you go to school speak English but when you come home speak in Hmong, so she still always wants me to have this Hmong inside of me that's going to be there because it is what I am, so I should have to keep it with me forever," said Hli Xiong.

And a new beginning in the Hmong culture is a cause for celebration.

"We want you to remember that every year this only happens once; the Hmong year so we want you guys to always keep this tradition going on and never stop," said Hli's Grandmother Kaing.

They honor their heritage through traditional clothing, performances and a ball-tossing game called "pov pob."

A game played by Hli's mother and father when they first met.

"The first beginning I dropped the ball because I know I'm not really good at catching the ball," said Lawchai Xiong, Hli's father.

He said in the past, gathering for New Years' was a way to meet your match.

But now it's more about keeping traditions alive.

Hli said, "If you ball-toss with someone, you see if you're interested in them but if you're not it's okay."

She said the New Year helps her embrace her family roots, "I still plan to go to Laos one day and see what it's like there too, because my mom has always asked if I wanted to go, so I think it would be nice to experience both sides."

Online Reporter: Christine Souders, Newsline 9

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