Do You Know Hmong? Here Are the Facts You Need

The Interesting Facts about Hmong You Should Know


Hmong is an ethnic group that has a rich culture and history. They are the minority who do not have a country of their own and are mostly found in locations such as Southern China, Vietnam, Burma, and Thailand. They originally lived in China.

The Chinese often curtailed the freedom of the Hmong people. This is what made most of the Hmong to migrate to other countries like Thailand. It is the Hmong people that helped America to fight the communists that were in Southeast China during the “Secret War.”

After the war ended, the communist groups waged their war on the Hmong as revenge. The retaliation led to the death of many people from the Hmong tribe. Others fled for security in the refugee camps that were located in Thailand. Eventually, most of the families that belonged to the Hmong moved to the United States and Australia, among other parts of the world.

Do you know any other facts about this group? Are you interested in learning who they are? Apart from knowing the Hmong translation, here are some facts that you need to understand about this group:

What is the Population of the Hmong People?

It is estimated that the global population of the Hmong is 12 million. In a census that was carried out which shows that 7.4 million of this population is found in China. The Guizhou region of China accommodates close to half of the Hmong people. The others are located in Yunnan, Guangdong, and Hainan. Other countries that have a large Hmong population include:

  • Vietnam (300,000)
  • United States (300,000)
  • Laos (200,000)
  • Thailand (50,000)

Their lifestyles vary depending on their location on the globe. Generally, they value their culture and love to uphold it wherever they go.

Does the Hmong Language Have Dialects?

The real Hmong belongs to a group known as the Hmong-Yao. They are a family of languages that are used by people who live in different locations, including China and Thailand. The dialects are subdivided depending on the color of clothing the speakers wear. They include the white, green, black, and the Yao Hmong. Some words cut across the different dialects. Half of the language speakers use Black and Red Hmong.

By 1950, there was no literature that documented the life of the Hmong. Their culture was passed to the next generations by word of mouth. The Hmong people believe that they once had a written history, but the books that contained the history were eaten by the horses. It is the Thais and the people of China who first scripted the life of the Hmong people.

What Is the Religion Associated with the Hmong People?

Although Hmong is made of people who are primarily animists, there is a small portion of them who have become Christians as a result of the contact they have had with the various groups of Catholics. Most of them believe that spirits cause illnesses.

The Chinese Religion, Buddhism, has had a huge impact on the beliefs held by the Hmong. It is the male household leaders who are in control of worship at the family level. They also have priests who have special clothing to use during their religious ceremonies. The payment for the priest is in the form of foodstuffs.

Do They Have Any Festivals or Sports?

The festivals celebrated by the tribe are different depending on the Hmong group location. Some observe the same holidays as those held by the Chinese. Other holidays and festivals include:

  • San Yue San

It is held in late March or early April. It dictates the time when people choose their partners (girlfriends and boyfriends), and this is why it is also called Venus Day. The celebrations are associates with songs, dances, archery competitions, and wrestling, among others.

  • Double Dagger and Money Bell game

This is a game in which people with daggers attack another group carrying money bell as the group with money bell try to escape.

  • Toulou

A sport with many participants who work on their skills and ability to spin wooden tops.

Do They Have Marriage Ceremonies?

It is common for members of a given dialect to marry each other. It is the women who leave their families and become part of the clan where the husband belongs. The community has arranged marriages though there is a level of freedom for people to choose their preferred partners. Couples that are as young as 14 years are allowed to marry. The cases of divorce are rare because of the high dowry costs that most families find hard to return.

Though the tribe has been primarily monogamous, some practice polygamy which was adopted after many men from Hmong died in the Vietnam war. It was meant to make it easy for women to get married.

Hmong people love spending money during marriage ceremonies. However, the government does not like the practice of heavy expenses during weddings. Moreover, the government is discouraging polygamy.

As seen, the Hmong people have a rich culture. The more you learn about them, the more you feel like being part of them. They are great people.