My Favorite Time of the Year: Home.

Our Hmong people have no land to call home, but it’s around this time of the year that I know I’m closest to home. Home is where my roots are. It is not a place but an experience. Home is the smell of burning incense and burning paper in honor of the ancestors before me. It is the day of waking up and following my Mother around to prepare items piece by piece for our big day to feed our ancestors, give our thanks, and ask for blessings. It is our day to Hu Plig (call our spirits home) for my favorite time of the year: Hmong New Year.

I love this day. I feel the most intent with myself and my inner thoughts; thinking good things to enter and start off the new year to come. It is the time that my heart is both full, knowing my yawg or paternal grandpa’s spirit will visit for his meal and well wishes. And at the same time my heart aches for my niam tais, my maternal grandma, who I know won’t have a son to prepare her a meal. It is the time I see my parents work hand-in-hand for the health of my paternal family members who are both still here and no longer with us. And it is the time my father and I know how much my mother longs to take care of the spirits of her family members and ancestors.

It is also the day that I am aware of myself as a Hmong woman; the eldest Hmong daughter. The day that I wonder who will feed the spirits of my family and ancestors after my parents no longer are, when I am married and caring for the spirits of another household. It is the day that I am very aware of my world within a world. The world of being Hmong in America. The world of being a generation that holds onto a world that was, while entering a new world that will be.

It is still my favorite time of the year. It is our time to be Hmong, to be Home, and to be cleansed and blessed for a very new, healthful and prospering year.

Cheers to the days nearing to a happy Hmong New Year! ❤

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