Culture include the thoughts, language,
communications, actions, customs and traditions, beliefs
and values, history, and social institutions of a
racial, ethnic, religious or social group. It is the
totality of ways of doing things that is passed on from
generation to generation. In this passing down and
every day practice, some features will be lost due to
their selective use, and new ones replace them. Culture
is thus never static, but a dynamic part of society.
For the Hmong, culture can be represented
through the following:
components: national musical instruments (the reed pipe
or “qeej”, the Hmong flute and mouth harp), traditional
costumes and ornaments, tools (the carrying basket “kawm”,
Hmong hatchet and ax), house designs, preferred physical
environment, arts, rituals (wedding, funeral) and
Intangible components: language,
religion, shamanism, traditional music and singing,
social values, norms, history, myths, folk tales, oral
texts and ritual chants such as the “Showing the
the “txiv xaiv” funeral songs, and zaj tshoob wedding songs.
These visible and invisible elements can
be regarded as forming the traditional Hmong culture
that is found among villagers who live in the highlands
of China and Southeast Asia. Much of this culture has
changed for the Hmong who have settled in the West as a
result of modern education, exposure to other cultures
and assimilation to them, or the adoption of cultural
features from other people.
In this section, Hmong culture is
discussed in four major articles:
world view and social structure – on Hmong religion and
and marriage in a Thai highland society – marriage and
residence rules among the Hmong in Thailand.
Hmong kinship – Hmong kinship terms and structures.
and settlement – the impact of settlement in Australia
on the culture of the Hmong there.
New in this 2008 update include:
Shaping of Traditions: the impact of agriculture on
Hmong customs and traditions.
Across Oceans: Hmong media and its influences on Hmong
cultural change and global identity.
Identity Production: changes in Hmong culture as a
result of the civil war in Laos and forced
migration to other countries.