Emma | Gabby
| Izzy S. | Cristina
Fun, games, get-togethers; those are all
things families do to keep traditions alive. They also go
to things like church or temple or other things like that.
It is very interesting the way families pass down cooking,
games and traditions. It seems like maybe you have no culture
but you do.
Some games are a simple as “ball toss” or even
tag and foodways are different all over, not only in different
countries, but also your own state. Like egg rolls and tamales
are different and hamburger and dried fruit are different.
Your culture and traditions of religious places and church
and temple are journeys. They are hard not to lose in mainstream
The Hmong have done a good job of keeping
their traditions here.
Like crafts, basket making, sewing, and all other kinds of
stuff. The paj ntaub has changed from traditional to story
cloths. The basket making has changed by the materials from
bamboo to plastic.
A lot of the games have stayed the same, like tublub, the
rubber band game, the rock and sticks game and a whole lot
The music has changed in the sense that not many still know
how to play the instruments, and also there are not many occasions
where they sing.
The medical practices have changed in some ways. Some people
still are shamans and some still ask for help from them. But
some have converted to Christians and don’t believe
in shamanism so they just go to a regular doctor.
The foodways barely have changed for most people. Most still
eat rice and meat for every meal of the day.
They also kept weddings and funerals and other traditional
Keeping traditions is very important for
Hmong elders but not as important for most Hmong kids. This
is an argument most Hmong families have in the U.S. How much
of this culture should we absorb and how much of our own culture
should we keep. Most Hmong elders think that they should keep
more than the things kids think they should keep. This brings
up another question, “Are we Hmong or American?”
In an effort to help keep the Hmong culture alive, a lot
of elders are teaching young boys to play the qeej and Hmong
girls to sew. They are also holding Hmong celebration hoping
their children will do the same and keep traditions from Laos
going, like ball tossing, having traditional funerals and
Dr. Bee is a perfect example that some Hmong are using their
Hmong traditions to make money. Dr. Bee who uses the Hmong
ideas of healing with natural things isn’t the only
one. Lots of women make money selling their needlework to
the Hmong community and even sometimes others that admire
it. I know some people even made money from a class of kids
that were studying their culture. Weird, huh!
Most people we interviewed/talked
to are trying to keep their culture. The parents are trying
to tell their children to stick to Hmong culture in the house
but at school we heard they said they wanted their children
to stay American in school.
I think Hmong children and teenagers have been keeping their
games culture. I mean if I were Hmong, which I am not, I’d
probably keep it in my life. I mean the games are fun. I just
need a few more lessons on playing tublub. But I still say
the games are fun. I’m not saying they are better than
other games, but I’m just saying they’re neat
to play. I’m sure most Hmong are still playing the Hmong
games because they’re great to play. You can play them
when you can’t go outside except the one with the rubber
band because it’s hard to play indoors. When we first
played it, we had a hard time playing outside so it will [definitely
be played] indoors.
Hmong music is neat, but most Americans don’t understand
the music. Most Hmong kids and children are keeping their
music culture. Boys play the qeej since the age of eight or
nine. Girls help parents make the instruments. It’s
cool making instruments then saying, hey I just learned something.
I think most Hmong have kept their music. Children at school
listen to other kinds of music. I think they still like their
Hmong music. So I’ve got to say something about Hmong
adult kids and that is most children in the school are trying
to keep their culture but, they also have other favorite foods,
games, music, crafts, and you’re going to have to work
with those changes. But some aren’t.
I think Hmong food is good, especially the most popular Hmong
food which is sticky rice with egg rolls. Most people/kids/children/teenagers
like Hmong food, so I think they’ve kept the food they
eat. At least I would!
The way most Hmong people heal is by steaming some plants
so it could be ready to heal. They use different kinds of
plants. I don’t really know the names of them. If they
don’t use the plants to heal, then in that case, they
use the shaman. They’re one of the best, a first place
I think that one of the most important
things about keeping traditions is practices: medical practices,
musical practice, crafts practices, etc. I feel that without
them, Hmong culture wouldn’t be the same. Traditions
are crucial for culture. I especially feel that it’s
important to keep Hmong traditions alive if we are to keep
Hmong culture alive.
Hmong people are eating Hmong foods, speaking Hmong language,
taking trips to Laos, playing Hmong instruments, using Hmong
medicines and herbs for healing, along with shamanism and
many other things to keep the culture alive – by taking
life and traditions from Laos and bringing them to America,
where they have to struggle to just keep them existing, to
make it so that Hmong people don’t all totally become
Americans forever, letting go of beliefs and traditions of
a precious culture. Keeping traditions is a very important
thing to be able to look back in the future and remember that
we need to help these people. Or, we can look back and get
a long-forgotten culture restarted and continue studying.
An excellent example of someone who really works at keeping
traditions is Thai Vang (Tye Vah), a young shaman, a qeej
player, a son in a family, and a schoolboy. We call him “young”
because most shamans are 60, or around there, while Thai is
I know that another good example is Dang Yang (Dah Yah),
a Hmong instrument maker here in America. One of the most
special instruments he has is a certain Hmong violin, with
a beautiful dragon’s head carved out at the top. The
colors seem to glow, with extensive beauty, describing all
the features and values of the instrument.
Some valuable traditions are games, music, healing and medical
practices, crafts, foodways, holidays, clothes, and more.
If we lose these, Hmong traditional culture is lost.