Yia & Mai Kia

Minneapolis, MN

“We’re identical twin sisters.”

Yia’s story:

One of my favorite things about the Hmong culture is the New Year. We play “tossing ball” and sing with each other about love. We wear traditional, hand-made Hmong costumes. They usually take two to three months to make and they are so beautiful.

When I came to the United States, I went to college and I started my nursing classes. I got my certification and I passed my test through the school and I became a nursing assistant. Now I do work for the hospital and do Hmong translating for Hmong patients.

Mai Kia’s story:

We love our Hmong heritage. I think we have the most fabulous clothing because they have a lot of colors and see things like this [points to traditional Hmong New Year’s garment]. To make them, you do some stitching, stitching, and more stitching. It takes a lot of time and we make it look very beautiful by mixing the colors. My favorite Hmong New Year was in 1974 because we were teenagers and that was the first year we had boyfriends. It was exciting. My sister found her husband at that New Years. That was a great year!


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