The Hmong culture is an extremely superstitious one with many rules to follow. Of course, if you believe – these rules have legitimate purpose. If you do not, they are still an interesting topic of discussion. There are many superstitious rules, so I will only be talking about a few that are very common. For those who are unsuspecting of paranormal experiences, beware of these encounters!
The very first superstition I will be talking about is falling at a Hmong funeral. This is something I have heard since I was a little kid. If one was to fall at a funeral, you will need to call a shaman to call your spirit home. I have yet to understand this rule but it is one I follow without question.
Whistling at night is prohibited! At night spirits and ghosts are wandering, so the sound of whistling will attract them. Beware or you may encounter an uninvited guest. Luckily for me, I am not too good at whistling.
If you suddenly feel a presence around you and also conveniently have a leaf near by, do not poke a hole in the leaf and look through the hole. You will see something you wish you hadn’t. Not only will you be horrified by said “something” but you will also die. As they say “curiosity killed the cat”.
One that I have personally experienced, involves my late mother. Before she passed, she said to me “if I come back to visit you (as a spirit), you will get sick”. Surely enough, after she passed, I missed her so much that I would cry everyday. A couple weeks went by and suddenly, I became very sick. The superstition goes “spirits that visit you will bring ‘bad’ energy”.
If you guys have any superstitions that you believe share them below!
Communication is actually a very beautiful thing. The way we try to portray our feelings to those who we find most important is very beautiful. In the Hmong culture, sharing our feelings can be difficult and uncomfortable. The elder generations do not realize the importance of love in our actions and the younger generations do not realize the importance of love in our words.
Hmong elders tend to come off very demanding and unfriendly because they do not wish to use flowery language to make us feel better. However, behind word that is spoken is a purpose of love; any parent that chooses to critique their children will do so out of love, in hopes that their children will learn to become better and to exceed expectations from extended family. Sometimes children do not realize the hidden meaning behind their parents judgement because there is a slight language barrier. Many Hmong children growing up in countries that have a different primary language will agree with the existence of a barrier. For example here is America the primary language is English, children are sent to school where they will learn English and many begin to forget the Hmong language. As children become older, they will use Hmong less and cannot improve their Hmong speaking. Hmong is like any other language, you must practice regularly or you will lose the ability to speak, read and write.
As a result, children become cold to their parents and their relationship begins to suffer. Although the relationship is still suffering, children will do little things to show love for their parents. They will bring home good grades because their parents are always pushing them; they will try to speak more Hmong because their parents wish for better communication. Children have soft-hearts for their parents and will do these things for them, maybe even more.
I would like to encourage Hmong children to practice speaking Hmong, so that your relationship with your parents can become stronger. Your parents will not be with you forever, so build a good relationship with them; one you will not regret. This will be our journey to tomorrow.
Disclaimer: Do realize I am speaking generally and not explicitly.
Racism is real and alive. It is what people experience when others are ignorant; this is what people experience when others are xenophobic. It is extremely disturbing to know that US history has come a very long way but, we are still no where near destroying the xenophobic mindset that caused so much destruction in our history.
As a Hmong(Asian) American woman, I will say it is disturbing to know the amount of hatred many other races feel towards us. Many people are still ignorant about the Secret War and how that has affected all of the Hmong population. Educate yourself, before you claim knowledge about an entire race and ethnicity.
People have been using the words “ching chong” to insult and degrade Asians. Many many people were claiming Asians are being too overly sensitive about these words because they are not an exact curse word. All those people claiming that “CHING CHONG” is not racist, should know that these words are mocking more than 50 ethnic languages(not including the minorities and unofficial languages)! These words are used to dehumanize Asians; these words are used to mimic and taunt us. These words are used because others felt the need to create a derogatory term for something they did not understand.
For those who claim “ching chong” is not offensive, if you are not Asian, you do not get to decide. If you are Asian, you should be more aware of how these words are being used against you, to insult and degrade you. This is only one term used in a derogatory way towards Asians; there are so many other things that are said and done. There are so many things going on in the world, hopefully our journey will result in a better tomorrow.
Hmong history goes a little like this; live peacefully, be forced to assimilate or be killed, run for your life, repeat. So I bet your wondering, “who are you talking about?” well, I’m talking about me. I’m talking about my story, my family’s story, every untold story of the Hmong fight for survival.
Hmong are the indigenous people that lived in the southern mountains of China; back before the Chinese resided in those areas, the Hmong people lived peacefully and prosperously. As the Chinese Empire grew so did the hostility between these groups; the Hmong could no longer live peacefully as they were forced to assimilate under empirical rules. To escape this persecution the Hmong fled as refugees to South East Asia, where many still reside to this day. They created and adapted the lifestyle that some young Hmong descendants -like myself- are accustomed to and know well. Some of these practices include farming large plots of land, sewing paj ntaub – also known as embroidery- and preparing for yearly celebrations.
This is how the Hmong lived for quite some time, as peaceful farmers, however the communist scare in the 1940s and 50s would change the lives of many. The United States had allied with the Hmong in Vietnam, I will not go into much detail about the Secret War but after American troops retreated the Hmong faced massive genocide and many Hmong recall this time as when lub teb chaw tawg, directly translated to the country breaking. The Hmong fled once again as refugees to Thailand awaiting their promise to the United States. Families were separated and children were orphaned. This directly affects all of the Hmong who are currently in the United States today, we all have someone in our families that know the destruction of war. We all know someone that faced death; whether they survived or not. This was our Journey to Today.