New Report Looks At Self-Insurance For Wisconsin State Employees, This Week In Washington, Hmong New Year

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

Wisconsin’s Hmong community is celebrating their New Year. We talk with a representative from Milwaukee’s event, which has been taking place for over 40 years. We check in on the latest news out of the nation’s capital, and we look at a new report on self-insurance for Wisconsin state employees.

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  • Milwaukee's Hmong-American Community Celebrating New Year

    On Dec. 3 and 4, the Hmong-American community in Milwaukee will celebrate its 41st New Year in the United States.

    It’s one of the main holidays in the Hmong culture, and it’s the only holiday celebrated this time of year for the Hmong culture, said Diana Vang-Brostoff, public relations coordinator for the Hmong Milwaukee Consortium.

    “We’re celebrating the end of the harvest season,” said Vang-Brostoff. “Traditionally, Hmong people are farmers back in our homeland in Laos and Thailand, and so we take this time to celebrate all of the successes we’ve had, all of the great harvests that we’ve had, and we come together to eat and celebrate new beginnings for 2017.”

    The holiday celebration lasts for about a month between November and December because different communities take turns celebrating the New Year, Vang-Brostoff said.

    There are events in Milwaukee; Madison; St. Paul, Minnesota – all over the country.

    “Really, it’s a season that we’re celebrating, of the New Year, and not necessarily a date, like we do here in America,” she explained.

    One of the cornerstone activities of the Hmong New Year celebration is a ball game called pov pob. Young people stand across from each other in two separate lines and in pairs facing each other.

    It’s a courting game played with a tennis ball covered in cloth, Vang-Brostoff said. Common sayings in the game are, “Throw a ball and catch a husband,” and “If you see a girl, toss the ball to her and hope she returns it.”

    People can expect to hear lots of traditional and contemporary Hmong music from all corners this weekend during the New Year celebration at the Wisconsin State Fair Park’s Exposition Center. Vendors will be selling music from local artists.

    “We have a lot of great music, a lot of great food,” Vang-Brostoff said. “We’re a very colorful people. Come see our traditional costumes and get to know us. We love America and we’d love to share our culture with everybody here.”

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • David Wahlberg Guest
  • Paul Singer Guest
  • Diana Vang-Brostoff Guest

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