Scroll down to learn more about the artist of this tree, Maylea Moua, and the Hmong culture! 

Click here to watch the Hmong Holiday Lantern Tree Video!

This tree is a masterpiece in progress. Perfection cannot be rushed! We will be posting updated photos as the tree comes closer to completion!

About the Artist

The artist representing the Hmong culture is Maylea Moua! When asked about how long she has been an artist she claims “Practically since I could hold a pencil to paper! I’ve always had a love for art which is why I chose to be in the design program at Eastern Washington University. I graduated with my Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication Design June of 2019.”

Maylea says the design for this tree is inspired by the Hmong story cloth, which often depicts Hmong folktales and the history of the Hmong people and the Vietnam War. She also says “To me, the holidays have always been about getting together with family. When it comes to family, I think about their history and how they got here to America, and I believe it’s important to remember.”

Through her art, Maylea wants to depict the history of the Hmong people, and how they came here to America after the Vietnam War. Inspired by the Hmong story cloth, she wanted to include a bit of herself, which is why she decided to implement figures to represent her family and elements of Spokane!

Maylea enjoys digital art, photography, and sketching designs in her sketchbook. She says “I don’t paint very often, so painting the tree for Winterfest was a bit intimidating if I’m being honest. But I enjoyed it and it makes me want to paint more.” How exciting!

In the Hmong community, Maylea enjoys staying involved by participating in helping set up the Spokane Hmong New Year each year, and also performing cultural Hmong and Thai dances in a dance group consisting of her friends, sisters and cousin. The group, Nkauj Hmoob Spokane, has also performed at events such as Gonzaga AAU’s Night Market. They also won a Chase Youth Award in 2019!

These are some of Mayleas’s favorite pieces. Two are mixed media posters for Earth Day! And one is a project she worked on as student in the VCD program – a workbook (coloring and activity book) for the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. She says “It was definitely something I was proud to be a part of!”

You can find more of Maylea’s work on her Facebook “Visuals by Maylea” and at her website:

Learn More About Maylea Moua

About the Hmong Culture

The biggest celebration for the Hmong community is the new year which has typically been celebrated the first weekend in December to match the actual worldwide celebrations as closely as possible. The new year is the time to celebrate after the harvest season and a way for young people to meet and find a spouse.


Hmong new year is the only celebration where everyone attempts to wear his/her best clothes or new outfits. The family’s jewelry also is brought out to be worn by the eligible young folks of the family ( as a way to attract a potential mate). 

At Hmong new year, which has typically lasted up to one week, a few games are played. One is the spinning wood tops (called “tuj lub”) competition. Another is bull fighting (Although, that only happens in Laos, Thailand, China, and Vietnam). Another is a traditional “singing” competition between a male and female as they try to outdo each other’s song messages and “teasing” through word play (much like a dance or rapping “battle”).

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