The greater Madison community is invited to join Hmong elders as they enjoy beautiful Hmong cultural activities and delicious Hmong food at the Hmong Noj Tsiab Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 16, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Hmong Institute. Noj Tsiab (pronounced “naw chia”) is the meal held the night before the Hmong New Year celebration begins.
Noj Tsiab and Noj Peb Caug (New Year celebration) are traditionally celebrated after the harvest season. Noj Tsiab involves ritual activities like a soul calling and giving thanks to ancestors’ spirits for a good harvest and for keeping loved ones healthy.
“The Noj Tsiab tradition constitutes ritual activities such as a hu plig (soul calling), lwm qaib (bless the new year while washing away all negative energy with the old year), giving thanks to the ancestor’s spirit for a good harvest and for keeping the family healthy. A meal or feast is then served to the family members,” said Peng Her, CEO of The Hmong Institute, in a press release. “The Noj Tsiab meal is to reflect, give thanks for the past year, and enjoy a meal together. The Noj Tsiab meal and New Year Festival enable the Hmong community to strengthen social ties and maintain cultural identity.”
The Noj Tsiab celebration will feature cultural activities performed by a Hmong elder, musical performances and game competitions. Guests will be able to participate in the “tuav ncuav,” which is rice pounding to make Hmong mochi — turning sweet cooked into sticky rice mass by using two large wooden hammers to pound on the cooked rice in a hollowed-out log. The sticky rice mass (mochi) is formed into pancakes, grilled, and dipped into molasses before eating.
There will be a Hmong ball-tossing game called pov pob, a common activity for adolescents and one of the most recognizable parts of the Hmong New Year celebration. There will also be a fashion show to showcase the different Hmong clothes — the different attire showing what region of Laos people are from and what dialect they speak. Elders will play traditional Hmong musical instruments such as the “ncas” jaw harp, and sing “kwv txhiaj,” a traditional Hmong poetry song.
The Hmong Institute is located at 4402 Femrite Drive on Madison’s East Side.
To register for Noj Tsiab, click here.