Games have been a part of Hmong culture ever since they’ve lived in China. They have been passed down from generation to generation.
There are many similarities between Hmong and American games. For example tub lub (too-loo) is very much like tops. Jacks is also similar to stick and stone game. Soccer is American is exactly the same as in Asia.
Tub lub is a game where you have two teams. One is on offense and one on defense. The defensive team takes their top and winds it up into a strong attached to a stick. They then swing the stick back then forward and let the string spin off. When the top is still on the string, you flick your hand back to get it to spin when it lands on the hard surface.
The offensive team does the same steps and tries to knock the defensive team’s top off the hard surface. If they do, they move on to the next level. The levels are then based on how far you can fling the top in the same fashion.
In the sticks and stones game, you throw a rock in the air and pick up as many sticks as you can. When the stone comes down, you have to catch it in the same hand that the sticks are in. Once you get all the sticks, the game is over and the person who picked up the last stick wins!
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 culture.
A lot of the games have stayed the same, like tublub, the rubber band game, the rock and sticks game and a whole lot more.
In a way, the Hmong aren’t as different as you may think, and games aren’t the only similarities.
–Izzy S. and Gabby