I am Hmong. I came from Laos. I can speak 5 languages. I can speak Hmong, Lao, Thai, Vietnamese and English. I came from Laos to the United States on March 23, 2017. My painting is important to me because it shows me and my girlfriend at the Hmong New Year in Laos. I still celebrate Hmong New Year in November or December here in St. Paul and I wear Hmong clothes. Hmong clothes are one of kind that are so special to me and other Hmong people, because they represent my culture. My ancestors passed them down to us. Hmong clothes are made by the women of the family. Girls learn “paj ntaus”, or needle work. Clothing for men is long black fisherman pants with a colorful band. Men wear wrap-around shirts that are embroidered at the neckline and sleeves. For special occasions, men will wear white shirts with an embroidered vest on top. Silver coins and beads are added to embroidered vests, bands and purses that are around the waist or layered over the basic pieces to represent wealth. Hmong clothes are not just special to me, they are special to all Hmong people around the world. The difference is that each group has its own design and color. Also once a year, Hmong people celebrate the New Year all over the world in different places and at different times throughout November and December.
– LEAP High School Student