Hmong New Year is one of the biggest social events of the year. This photo story was documented in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Hmong community create decorative handmade clothing for this yearly festival, as well as share food, dances, music and games.
One of the traditional games played at the festival is called pov pob. Boys and girls form two separate lines in pairs that are directly facing one another. The ball is thrown so that the other player can catch it with one hand. If the throw is good and the other player drops or misses the ball, an ornament or a piece of silver or a belt from his or her costume is given to the opposite player in the pair. Ornaments are recovered by singing traditional courting songs to the opposite player. Through playing this game, the young people get to know each other, forming relationships that may eventually lead to marriage. If the boy throws the ball and the girl makes no attempt to catch it, then he has been rejected. Men can play this game with multiple women as they can have multiple wives.