Oroville Hmong to mark new year next weekend


By MARY WESTON-Staff Writer

OROVILLE — The Hmong community of Oroville will be having its annual Hmong New Year festivity next weekend with traditional food, dancing, music and activities.

The event, Oct. 6 and 7 at the Nelson Sports Complex in Thermalito, is open to the public. Entrance is $3.

Gen. Vang Pao’s son Whachong Vang will open the ceremonies at 10 a.m. Speakers include Mayor Linda Dahlmeier and Butte County Supervisor Bill Connelly, along with unannounced Hmong speakers.

“We welcome everyone to come to the events next weekend,” said Zong Chia Yang, president of the Lao Veterans of America Inc. of Northern California.{sidebar id=1}

They are expecting participants from all over California, and as far north Oregon, said Seng Yang of the Hmong Cultural Center of Butte County.

This year, they are celebrating “The 37th Anniversary of Hmong in America” with the theme “Stepping into the Future”.

“Yes, we want to move forward into the future, but we want to keep what we have too,” Yang said.

The celebration includes dancers and other entertainment throughout the day in the stage area.

Participants will play the traditional tossing ball sport.

There will also be soccer, volleyball and rattan ball competition with prizes running as high as $1,000.

Venders will sell a variety of foods with a lot of barbecue items. There will be crafts, clothes, music CDs and other wares.

Butte County has been home for the Hmong community for nearly three decades, according to a press release. The first Hmong family settled in Oroville in 1985. Today, Butte County is home to about 8,000 Hmong residents, and Oroville holds the largest group.

For the past three decades Gen. Vang Pao attended the Hmong New Year festivals.

“With Gen. Vang Pao gone, our community is committed to his wishes of unity, peace and prosperity to preserve our rich culture and heritage,” according to the press release.

Gen. Pao led Hmong troops fighting the Secret War under the CIA during the Vietnam War. Pao was a renowned general and community leader of Hmong in the United States who promoted peace and unity.

Staff writer Mary Weston can be reached at 533-4415 or mweston@orovillemr.com.

Source: http://www.orovillemr.com