In 2016, Saint Paul became one of the first cities in the nation to install tuj lub courts, a move that introduced many Minnesotans to the traditional Hmong game that’s a blend between bowling and bocce ball – a game that, as Almanac’s David Gillette discovered, is much harder than it looks.

Pronounced “too-loo,” the game has 5,000-year old roots in Laos, and many Hmong Minnesotans also played it as a respite in Thai refugee camps before they finally made their way to the U.S. The game is an important cornerstone of the Hmong community’s identity and brings together many generations of players. Senator Foung Hawj accompanied Gillette as he learned the rules of the game and proclaimed, “Tuj lub is now in Lake Wobegon.”

The Wrap

 

Naturally, there’s a lot to learn about a sport that has challenged players and captivated spectators for 5,000 years. Every 4th of July weekend in Minnesota, Hmong men, women and kiddos from all over the Midwest gather in Minnesota for the annual Freedom Festival, which features a slew of different sports tournaments, including tuj lub.

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