Like other cultures, the Miens celebrate their new year once a year.
Mien observe New Year’s Day to wish for peace, good health,
prosperity, and happiness. Miens use a lunar calendar derived from that
of the Chinese. and one can find a Chinese calendar hanging on the
walls of almost every Mien home. New Year's Day for Mien people falls
on the same day as that of the Chinese.
Miens prepare for their New Year celebration at least a month ahead of
time. To prepare for the celebration, Mien families busy themselves
gathering firewood for cooking foods, roasting meats, and for keeping
the house warm. They store away foods for animals, and they bring home
rice, fruits, and vegetables from their farms; they fatten their
animals (cows, pigs, chickens) for the New Year feast. Parents usually
buy or sew new outfits for their children to wear on the New
Things to be prepared for
prior to the New Year’s Days:
Foods for Animals
~ Corn, banana stalks, hay/grass, seeds, etc. are collected and stored
in a safe place for animals (cattle, horses, pigs, chickens).
Firewood or dried logs
~ No one is allowed to roam the forest looking for firewood during the
New Year's celebration.
Sweet rice cakes
(with meat in the middle), “njuov zong, njuov ziux”
~ Usually wrapped and steamed cooked, eat for snacks or desserts.
Animals that are killed for food must be done before the new
Eggs ~ Used
as good luck charms for the kids or visiting guests, usually red and
individually netted with long strings (loops).
Clothes or outfits
~ Spending money or buying clothes on the New Year’s Day is
not allow. Mien believe that if one spends money on the New
Year’s Day, he/she may not be able to control his/her
spending habits, and cannot spend money wisely for the rest of the
year. He/she may always be poor.
Fire Crackers ~
Used to celebrate and welcome the New Year, part of the entertainment
items for both adults and kids.
On New Year’s Eve
New Year's Eve is a day for family
unification, for the immediate families, relatives, and cousins to come
home to visit their moms and dads. There is a ritual called
“siangx mienv” – it is usually done on
the New Year’s Eve. Its purpose is welcoming the New Year,
and thanking the spirit ghosts for keeping everyone safe till this day.
New Year’s Day:
“Saengh-Ietv Dorm” is the first
morning of the New Year. On the New Year’s Day, every adult
in the family gets up very early in the morning to walk outside the
house to collect a few small rocks and bring them to the house. These
stones represent wealth and prosperity for the family. The adults then
boil the eggs and dye them red. When the children get out of bed, their
New Year charms are waiting for them. To welcome the New Year, Mien
kids light firecrackers; adults fire a gun in the air (not acceptable
in the USA).
Mien New Year proceeds with
“baaix hnyangx” – A New Year bowing in
front of the altar, in a selected residence, place, or temple (still
practice in the USA). Mien bowing on the New Year’s Day for
good blessing from gods - “welcoming the New Year
and hoping for the better for all, in terms of health, prosperity, and
happiness. May all the bad things be gone with the Old Year”.
The Mien New Year runs three days.
Things to be forbidden during
the Mien New Year:
Do not spend money
Do not kill animals
Do not do farm work
Do not get firewood from the forest or
hunt wild animal
On New Year’s Day, parents preach their children in
traditional manners. They expect girls to be a little different than
boys, for example, parents would preach their daughters to be more
vigilant, to love and respect their family, practice home cooking
skills, and be creative on the sewing, or embroidery. On the other
hand, parents would preach their sons to be gentle and kind to others,
study hard, be educated, and be knowledgeable when grow up.