Hmong Culture 101 - ISD 622

Hmong Culture 101 Chee Lor Quick recap of history - Nomadic group, an ethnic group live in the hills and mountains south of China i.e provinces of Guizhou, Hunan, Yunan, Sichuan etc

Fled China in 1700 from the Qing dynasty Today - Settlement across the globe - Largest concentration in: CA & MN - other countries with close ties: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China and France

Language - We speak Hmong - There are two major dialects: Green & White - Difference in verbal and written nam vs. niam sab vs. siab dlej vs. dej choj vs. pam

Religion Shamanism Traditionally a form of Animism or the belief in the spirit world and the interconnectedness of all living things. The shaman or txiv neeb (father of spirits) take on the role of connecting and communicating to spirits in the spirit realm when a person is sick, depressed or lost due to the imbalance of one or more souls. The human body is a host for many souls, an isolated or separated soul may even lead to death and therefore soul

calling rituals and healing practices are a must in order to keep the integrity of life in balance. Practice Shaman is a person chosen by the spirits as a medium to communicate with spirits, travel to the spirit realm, heal souls and give blessings. - spirit/ soul calling (Hu plig) - Ua Neeb (Shamans are called upon to see how a spirit

is doing, travels to the spirit realm and get answers, this is usually done when someone is sick, newborn, encountered something to have shaken up their spirit) Ua Neeb Hu Plig Khi tes, a healing ritual in which

white yarn are tied to the hand of the person whose spirit is being called. This will help ensure their souls are bounded as one and the person is not sick.

Practice (continued) - Alters: eggs, rice, water to feed the spirits, incense to burn and call spirits - Tools: gong to help send shaman into a trance, buffalo horns to communicate w/ the spirit, a blindfold to help keep shaman in the trance and more depending on the different type of NEEB the family is doing.

Animals - given as sacrificial offerings - souls of animals connected to humans - a communion meal is usually prepped - communal sharing of a life given to mend a lost soul

Culture - oral culture - no written language until 19th century - folklore and stories: creation of the 18 clans; 18 last names.

- Sewing, story cloths (paj ntaub or padao) Dating, courtship, marriage Culture Hmong culture consists of 18 surnames or clans (18 xyeem). It is a taboo to marry someone with the last name as yours. In older days, courtship is practiced and in modesty. There is little display of public affection. Women

tend to domestic chores and work hard all year for the New Year where during this time young men search for a wife for the new year as it is the best time to get married. A formal proposal can be given for her hand in marriage. The young mans family would bring gifts and money to her family, details will be worked out. A gift can be given and if she accepts, they marry. or--------------->>>>>

Bride- napping (zij), Bride Kidnapping If a man is interested in a woman but she is not returning the same feelings, this practice of bride kidnapping would be enforced. - shame if you returned home - called the authority =disgrace

Marriage - farming was an essential source for economic security--->> early marriage & large families= more helping hands - Polygamy--->> more children for farming, sons to carry on blood and heir. - Arranged marriage

Marriage Bride price vs. selling daughters legally vs. traditionally (pros & cons) Marriage steps 1) Fi Xov (sending the message) 2) First wedding feast 3) Second wedding feast

lots of drinking usually take place and the groom along with his best man will do a lot of bowing on the knees. Food - Variation of other ethnic foods Greens with pork and pepper Despite having variations

of other food, regardless of where you go, you will always run into the classic boiled green veggies with pork and pepper. Lastly For further information about assimilating to western

culture, Hmong culture practices and rituals please check out the listed resources that may be of help and interest. Resources: (Watch it!!!) (blogs are very helpful) Thank you! Ua Tsaug! Please feel free to email me or connect with me if you have further questions!

Chee Lor - [email protected]

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