NORTHERN THAILAND'S TRIBAL HERITAGE: THE HMONG

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Hmong Hmong Hmong

Hmong

Hmong

The Hmong are called by the Khon Muang “Meo,” and belong to the Austro-Thai linguistic family. They came via northern Laos to Thailand and are nowadays the most spread out ethnic minority group. They are scattered throughout southern China, mostly in Guizhou Province. In Thailand, we find two groups of Hmong people, namely the Blue or Black Hmong, whose women wear a distinctive indigo-dyed, pleated skirt with batik designs, and White Hmong, whose women wear a white, pleated skirt during ceremonial occasions. But when engaged in everyday work, the women of the White Hmong put on indigo-dyed trousers.

The extended Hmong family is patrilineal, and Hmong men may have several wives. Beyond the family level, the clan serves as the center of all activities and it is the clan that features in all the Hmong legends. Hmong religion is pure shamanism with an emphasis on ancestor-worship. The Hmong prefer to locate their villages at an altitude of 1,000 meters where they are engaged in opium production. Rice and maize are the main subsistence crops; dogs are kept for security, and pack mules for transport. The houses are built on the ground. The New Year celebration takes place in late December when young people look for marriage partners by throwing cotton balls at each other.

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