Hmong Thanksgiving tickets sell out


Communications photo

The event featured several acts and performances, including Mulan Dance Group.


Hmong Thanksgiving is an event that is put on by Hmong Club each year. The event started at 5 p.m. with opening remarks by Hmong Club advisor Valerie Wetzel and Hmong Club President Jerry Thao. There were appetizers on the table to eat during the talks and performances. The appetizers were chicken laab, pork and veggie eggrolls with dipping sauce and Asian salad.

Thao thanked everyone for attending and went on to introduce the first dance performance, Hmong 2000 Xyoo by the Mulan Dance Group. A Hmong story cloth and Hmong necklaces were introduced as raffle prizes. During dinner, a slideshow of Hmong Club members and activities were put on. There was a second performance Thai Goddess Dance by the Mulan Dance Group. The entertainment for the night was Hmong comedian Tou Ger Bennett Xiong.

Bennett Xiong is a Hmong comedian, storyteller, diversity consultant, and activist from St. Paul, Minnesota. The Hmong Club knew about him and were able to book him for the entertainment for Hmong Thanksgiving.

After Bennett Xiong’s performance was the third and last performance, Leeg Muam Qab Zib by the Mulan Dance group. As the raffle winners collected their prizes, Thao gave closing remarks.

“It took a couple weeks. I had a lot of help from Nalee [Xiong] our previous president. She was a big help with this event. I didn’t really know what I was doing much when I first became president [of Hmong Club] and I relied a lot on Nalee. She’s helped and guided me to become a president just like her. We used examples on previous Hmong Thanksgivings and were kind of like let’s see what we can do new here and let’s see what happens if we change things here to make it better,” Thao said.

Hmong Thanksgiving tickets sold out within two weeks. Thao thought the event went great as a whole.

“I love it when a lot of people come together and have fun,” Thao said. “I think this year went really well. A lot of people came together and just socialized. We had a great turn out tonight and we had a lot of fun,”  Thao said.

Thao believes it’s great for people who are not Hmong to come to the event because they experience the culture and history through food, dance, and stories.

“I think for people outside of Hmong club to come here to this event, it is a great experience to help them open their minds and for them to be able to experience a different culture and traits of people of different ethnic races,” Thao said.

This sentiment was echoed by Bennett Xiong’s performance that incorporated personal experience, Hmong history and Hmong culture.

“Wow. The designs and colors were very Hmong-centric. And then to have this display, not even just display but a true interaction using all of the senses. The guests here were able to taste Hmong food, smell Hmong food, see the beautiful Hmong Costumes, and see all the girls dance. To hear all these sounds and to also interact and hear the Hmong language, that’s why I purposely do some of my jokes in Hmong. We laugh in the same language too,” Bennett Xiong said.

“The idea is to hear story telling first hand experiences, like my story of crossing the river. Culture is not a book that you read or a workshop you go to or a class that you take, culture is an experience. I was so glad to see all the community members here and also on top of that all of the young kids. Talk about exposure to diversity. I have to congratulate all of the leaders of the Hmong club on putting on this display and interactive experience of our culture.”

Hmong Thanksgiving is more than just a meal or event; Hmong Thanksgiving is a cultural experience. If you weren’t able to go this year and experience it yourself, there’s always next year.