Late Post: Khmu New Year Celebratio ’16

Seattle, Wash. (Nov. 19) – So many people may not know who the Khmu’ people are and where they come from. Khmu’ people are made up of small groups of tribes originally from the mountainous region of Laos. Khmu is also the dialect that the Khmu people speak. It’s very similar to Lao and Thai, using some of the same syntax, symbols and codes.

I come from a traditional Khmu family. Although, my siblings and I are Khmu Americans by birth, we appreciate many aspects of our cultures. One of the many things that I look forward to every year is our New Year celebration. My favorite part of the New Year celebration is the food and the dance performances. Two of the most popular traditional dances are the sword dance and the harvest dance.

Many Khmu people in Laos are farmers and rely on agriculture as a sustainable source of living, the Khmu New Year follows the harvest season calendar. Agriculture is such an important part of their culture that you can even see it incorporated into their traditional dance choreography. For example, you may notice the young women lined up in rows and flicking their wrist, similar to when Khmu’ farmers would scatter seeds during planting.

The sword dance originated from the ancient Khmu warriors who protect the villages. Although there may be some irony in connection with swords and dancing, it’s hard not to get lost in very elegant movement and steps choreographed and passed down from multiple generations. Each tribe has their own particular sword dance style. Many of the elders can tell right away which tribe or village a person is from based on their sword dance.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my post and maybe learned something new about the Khmu people. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or question below. Don’t forget to follow and like my page if you like what see. See you on the next post!

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