Under a giant inflatable dome, Anchorage's Hmong community rang in the new year Sunday with rituals both old and new — traditional garb, green papaya salad and sticky rice, cultural songs and dances and plenty of Instagram pictures made possible by selfie sticks.
Numbers are inexact but organizers estimate that 500-600 people attended the three-day event held at the Dome, a sports facility off Raspberry Road owned by ChangePoint church, over the course of the weekend.
In their former homeland of Laos, the Hmong people celebrated a New Year's festival after the year's rice harvest. The tradition endured when many Hmong emigrated to the United States as refugees after the Vietnam War, in which thousands of Hmong fought for the United States in what has been called the "secret war" in Laos.
Today, Anchorage has a Hmong population of more than 3,500, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. The Anchorage School District includes about 1,019 students who live in Hmong-speaking households, according to the district. That makes it the third most common language spoken by district students, after Spanish and Samoan.
Hmoob aslaskaj noj peb caug nyob rau xyoo 2017 no hmoob tuaj coob li ntawm 500-600 leej neeg tauj noj 30 vim lub teb chaws alaskaj no no no thaij li noj nyob rau hauv tsev xwb peb cov hmoob nyob rau lub teb chaws alaskaj no feem ntau yog khiav tsov khiav rog tauj nyob xwb.