Hmong: Where Is Home?

"Where are you from?" she asked me with great interest when I told her I am Hmong. "It depends on what you're asking." "What do you mean?" "Well, if you're asking where I live, I'm from the US. If you're asking where I was born, that's Thailand. If you ask where my parents came from,…

Nkauj Hnub thiab Nraug Hli

I found this beautiful paj huam (Hmong poem) that Nujtxeeg posted on the Hmongza forum, telling the story of Nkauj Hnub (Maiden of the Sun) and Nraug Hli (Man of the Moon). This story describes the tragic love story of Nkauj Hnub and Nraug Hli, who will forever yearn for each other's love and are only allowed…

Hmong Postpartum Care

A woman's body goes through so many changes during pregnancy and trauma during childbirth that postpartum care for a Hmong woman is very important---more important than prenatal care.  Many Hmong women take postpartum care very seriously. A woman nyob nruab hlis (stays within the month) after childbirth for 30 days, hence the name.  And this…

Bride Price vs Dowry

I've seen and heard many Hmong people use bride price and dowry interchangeably, however their meanings are very different.  Merriam Webster defines bride price as "a payment given by or in behalf of a prospective husband to the bride's family...."  So, basically, it is money or goods that the groom gives to the bride's family for…

Traditional Hmong weddings and marriages

The Hmong consists of 18 last (sur) names, making up 18 official clans.  It is taboo to marry someone from the same clan.  For instance, someone with the Yang last name cannot marry another Yang.  In some families, it is also taboo to marry someone with the same clan name as your mother's maiden name.…

Hmong superstitions/taboos (part 2)

You can read part 1 here: Hmong superstitions. Yangs can’t eat chicken hearts. A long time ago, the Yang clan was having a party.  They killed cows, pigs, and chickens to celebrate.  They left a young man who was deaf and mute to tend the pot of oil where the chickens were frying in.  Later,…

Worshiping demons

The Hmong religion is Shamanism.  Shamanism is the practice of using a shaman to communicate between the human and spirit world.  It is a sub-religion of Animism.  Animism is the belief that all living things (earth, sky, plants, animals, humans, etc) have souls.  A shaman is someone who has the gift to communicate with the…

Hmong New Year (Noj Peb Caug)

As one of my previous blogs stated, it is Hmong New Year.   And I want to clear up some misconceptions of Hmong New Year.  My blog "Hmong Mating Season" was a joke.  The tradition of Hmong New Year has changed its form over the past decades in America that it has become a "season." …

Hmong mating season!

It’s that time of the year!  It is Hmong Mating Season!  Don’t know what it is?  Well, stay tune and you’ll find out. The Hmong are found all over the world, from the US to Canada, SE Asia to China, Australia, France, and Argentina.  Back in the old country, Hmong Mating Season starts after the…

Hmong superstitions

Shamanism and animism play a big role in Hmong lives.  We rely on our shamans to mediate and travel between the spirit and human worlds.  We believe every living thing (animal, plants, earth, sky, water, air) have a spirit.  And from these beliefs, superstitions are born. Merriam-Webster defines a superstition as: A) a belief or…