HMONG PEOPLE FROM around the Stockton area gathered with their families at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds recently to celebrate the New Year and Hmong culture with food, dance competitions, volleyball and more.

Hmong people are an indigenous group from East and Southeast Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. The Nov. 11-12 event at the fairgrounds attracted a colorful array of traditional clothing from the visitors’ countries of origin.

While the New Year is traditionally celebrated over three or four days at the end of December, the holiday is observed between November and December among the Hmong people living in the United States.  

Sophia In (left) and Daly In serve friend chicken and steak during Hmong New Year celebrations at San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton on Saturday. (Harika Maddala/Pagransen/Catchlight Local)

The next major Hmong New Year celebration can be found in Sacramento at Cal Expo from Nov. 24-26 and is among the largest of the celebrations in the United States.

Harika Maddala is a photojournalist based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Pagransen and its nonprofit news site Pagransen. They are a Report for America corps member and a CatchLight Local Fellow.