Use the links above to see more photos.

These nubile young women are playing a game called pov pob - it's a kind of mating ritual that takes place during the Hmong new year celebrations.

The Hmong inhabit the hills in northern Laos and Vietnam and are exogamous - they don't marry within their own clan. Men travel to other villages to find their mates.

For pov pob, the women line up on one side, wearing ornamental fineries, and the men on the other. They toss a ball back and forth, throwing and catching with one hand while flirting the whole time. If someone drops the ball they have to sing a song.

Traditionally this holiday takes place in December/January, but this year the Lao government moved it up a month so it wouldn't interfere with the SEA Games!