New Year (Jiex Siang-Hnyangx or Jiex Hnyangx)

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 Year’s Day.

Things to be prepared for prior to the New Year’s Days:

  1. Foods for Animals ~ Corn, banana stalks, hay/grass, seeds, etc. are collected and stored in a safe place for animals (cattle, horses, pigs, chickens).
  2. Firewood or dried logs ~ No one is allowed to roam the forest looking for firewood during the New Year's celebration.
  3. Sweet rice cakes (with meat in the middle), “njuov zong, njuov ziux” ~ Usually wrapped and steamed cooked, eat for snacks or desserts.
  4. Meats ~ Animals that are killed for food must be done before the new year’s eve.
  5. Eggs ~ Used as good luck charms for the kids or visiting guests, usually red and individually netted with long strings (loops).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Mien Ceremony

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.

Dyed Red Egg Mien

Things to be forbidden during the Mien New Year:

  1. Do not spend money
  2. Do not kill animals
  3. Do not do farm work
  4. 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.