Hmong New Year celebration begins at the Fresno fairgrounds

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thousands of people kicked off a week-long celebration at the Fresno fairgrounds Saturday morning.

Take a stroll around the Fresno fairgrounds this week and you'll get a glimpse into a colorful culture. "Participating in events like this means a lot to me because I feel more connected to my community," said Iaong Vang, Hmong New Year attendee.

The celebration of Hmong New Year traditionally falls at the end of the harvest season. Organizers spent months planning the seven-day event-- efforts that aren't lost on a younger generation. "I do think that it is my duty, as well as other younger generations, to carry on the traditions and continue hosting these new years like our elders here do," said Gorlia Xiong, Hmong New Year performer.

The timing of the new year coincides with the opening of a new exhibit. Hmong Story 40 showcases the struggles of migrants from southeast Asia. The display has been open for a couple weeks, but it's the first time it's been this packed. A relief for Maykou Vang who spent countless hours creating it. "My generation, we still remember but the younger generation-- we're losing that and that's the whole point of this Hmong Story 40 is to preserve and to share at the same time."

The Hmong people migrated to the United States from many different countries including China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. But at this celebration there are no boundaries, just a rich culture that continues to thrive.
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