We had a family get-together yesterday. I don’t like going to these “family get-togethers” because it doesn’t involve the married women (sisters/aunts) in the family. In the Hmong culture, once a girl marries, she is no longer a part of her mother and father’s family. The ancestors that she calls to and worships will be her husband’s, thus she is solely her husband’s family. Another reason could be that her husband’s family has paid for her hand in marriage so her biological family is no longer responsible for her. It is the duty of her husband’s family to provide for her. Many families will think that if they were to invite their sisters to a family function, the other family will be offended.

The very traditional Hmong families follow this tradition like following a rule-book and that is how some of Dear Spouse’s family thinks. Therefore, in yesterday’s get-together, only the men (brothers/uncles) were there with their wives and children. I guess you can call it a “one-sided family get-together.” I don’t think I will ever understand this aspect of Hmong culture. Maybe I have assimilated too much into the mainstream American culture that I think not inviting your sister to a family get-together is just pure ridiculous.

Your sister is your sister, regardless of the fact that she is married to someone outside of your family. Are you going to stop acknowledging her as “family” just because you feel that she has her own “neej” and her own “dab?”

I just feel as if the family will never be complete if you leave out the women in the family. I could be biased because I’m a feminist, and the Hmong culture looks to the women as second class. But it shouldn’t matter if your sister is married. Gladly invite her to your family functions. Family means those people you care and love, which should never exclude your sister and/or aunt.

2 thoughts on “Family get-togethers

  1. I TOTALLY agree with you on this!!! And others might see it as me being biased but let me tell you… I’m going to invite myself anyways even if they didn’t call me… I may not be “part” of my family anymore but they are still my family!!!


  2. what kind of hmong family did you come from? we are traditional to some extent but i have never experienced this kind if bullshit (excuse me for my language).


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