Come celebrate the Hmong New year and enjoy extraordinary dance and song in an original theatre production called The Bracelet, written and directed by Mai Vang Lee from the Henry Class of 2019. This is the 15th annual Hmong New Year celebration put on by the Henry Asian Culture Club. This production is on Friday, January 13 at 6 p.m. in the Henry High auditorium, and is followed by a free buffet of fine Asian food.
Invitation from Paul Compton, Teacher Facilitator of the Asian Culture Club (ACC): One thing I’ve always loved about the Patrick Henry community is the diversity, both in people and culture. I have been with the ACC for 11 years now, in our continuing mission to share the unique qualities of the Asian culture that lives here among us in North Minneapolis. We present our shows every year in order to help our students take pride in the richness of their culture, as well as share that unique culture with the non-Asian residents of the Northside. I will always encourage our neighbors in the PHHS community to come share in this free event!
Introducing playwright Mai Vang Lee: I grew up watching Hmong, Chinese and Korean movies with themes of powerful family artifacts we brought over from Laos and Thailand. One of my favorite movies is The Flirting Scholar. These movies often feature family heirlooms that bring families together and keep them together across continents as well as very difficult times. My play, The Bracelet, unites two characters together and tells their story of a love that survives and thrives through incredible hardship.
I developed my playwriting skills in a theatre class that I took my freshman year at Patrick Henry with Ms. Lethert. It’s fun to write and direct a play and to work with people who have never had experience with theatre. It’s also fun for me to direct my big sister Mai Kia Lee who is the main character of The Bracelet.
Quote from Kevin Vang, a Senior Four Year Performer at Hmong New Year: I came to the Hmong New Year at Patrick Henry while I was in middle school and began to perform in my freshman year. This experience has helped me find my confidence and given me the necessary boost to perform on stage. Someday I hope I will take this experience and be able to perform professionally. Hmong New Year has been my favorite activity at Patrick Henry.
What is the Hmong New Year?
The Hmong have a history estimated to be some 6,000 years old, ranging from a variety of mountainous regions from China (in the older times), to more recently in the historical spectrum, the mountainous areas of Laos and Thailand. Some anthropologists speculate the Hmong may have roots that even reach as far north as the Siberian area.
In a traditional setting, the New Year tends to come at the end of the harvest season, in mid-November. For 10 days before the official launch of the New Year, Shamans from various villages come together to begin rituals intended to bring a balance between the spiritual and physical world, and begin to call the spirits of ancestors back to bring blessing and fortune for the year to come.
The Hmong New Year is proudly brought to you by the Asian Culture Club Officers including: Chieng Lor – President; Sorena Yang – Vice-President; Tia Yang – Secretary; Nou Chee Vang – Public Relations Officer; Lucy Xiong – Public Relations Officer; and Chue Chang, Mai Yer Vue, Lisa Yang – Auxilliary Officers.