Who are the Hmong hill tribe people of Northern Thailand ?
The Hmong hill tribe is Thailand's most beautiful hill tribe women in Northern Thailand.
The Hmong hill tribe in Thailand
Hmong hill tribe people
In Thailand: 153,955 in 2003, distributed over 253 villages.
The Hmong are called Maeoh by the Thais and the other hill tribes. In Thailand, they are divided into three main groups: Hmong Deaw (White Hmong). Hmong Nua (Green Hmong, more generally known as Blue or Black Hmong), and Hmong M’ba (Striped Hmong).
Language family: Austro-Thai
Linguistic group: Miao-Yao
Linguistic branch: Miao Like all the Miao-Yao languages, the dialects spoken by the White and Black Hmong, though different, borrow many words from Yunnanese. The Hmong have no writing system.
4. Origins and migration
The Hmong were probably already living in China, along the Yellow River, about 3,000 years ago. Forced out by invasions and the pressures exerted on them by the Chinese over the centuries, they soon started to migrate southward. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, they were at war with the Chinese on a number of occasions, which led to their moving into Laos around 1850 and into Thailand after 1880. Many Lao Hmong moved over the border into northern Thailand in 1975, after the victory of Pathet Lao (the Communist forces), as the Hmong had fought bitterly against them.
Thailand: in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Phrae, Tak, Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Phayao, Pitsanulok, Loei, and Petchabun.
Southern China, Vietnam, and Laos
6. Economy and agriculture
The Hmong practice high-level slash-and-burn farming. The basis of their diet is sweet corn, which grows better than rice at over 1000 meters above sea level. They also grow sugar cane, beans, melons, yams, onions, cucumbers, tobacco, and many other sorts of fruit.
The raising of Chinese ponies, mules, pigs, and poultry is an important part of their working lives, as is distilling alcohol.
Up until ten or twenty years ago, the Hmong were still very involved in opium production, but they have now completely abandoned poppy growing in Thailand.
Hmong society is patrilinear. Their basic social units are the family and the clan, and names are passed down from father to son. Polygamy is accepted because it helps raise a man’s status within his clan. Respect for age and seniority is very important in the Hmong community. The oldest man in the family has authority over all its members and is responsible for their well-being.
Marriage and divorce
Usually, a young Hmong has to marry a woman from outside his clan who becomes a member of it upon marrying him. (There are twelve clans, but not all of them are represented in Thailand.)
It is the groom’s parents who have to pay the dowry and pay for the wedding expenses. The bride price is discussed by representatives of the two parties on the basis of her beauty, the area where she comes from, and the wealth of the two families. Once the bride’s price has been settled, the celebrations can begin. The wedding takes place in the young man’s home. Chickens and pigs are sacrificed, the spirits of the ancestors and all the male relatives are greeted in order of age (the kowtow ritual), and glasses of alcohol are exchanged. The young couple is then escorted to their new home.
Polygamy is practiced among the Hmong and is seen as a sign of wealth and prestige. A man may take a second, and even a third, wife if his first wife agrees. Divorce is rare. If a woman wants to leave her husband, she has to refund her bride price.
A Hmong woman gives birth sitting in her bedroom, with the help of a midwife and her husband. The umbilical cord is cut with a piece of bamboo, and the placenta is buried under the house. During its first three days, the newborn baby is seen as still belonging to the spirit world and to the goddess of children (Poor olang por). On the third day, a ceremony takes place to bring the child into the world of the living. Chickens are sacrificed to thank the gods, and the baby is given a name so that it can be a member of its parent’s clan.
The Hmong believe that a man has three souls, which separate on the day of his death. One goes to paradise, one stays in the grave, and the third is reborn. A person’s death is announced by three rifle shots. The
The body of the deceased is bathed and then dressed in clothes specially prepared for the occasion. The body stays for several days by the family altar, on which chickens are sacrificed so as to guide the dead man to the ‘land of the ancestors’. The coffin is then carried in a procession of relatives and friends. accompanied by musicians and a young girl who holds up a burning torch so that the dead man can ‘see the way’. The coffin is buried and covered with a cairn of stones.
8. Religious beliefs, practices, and rites
Hmong religion is a mixture of animist rites and shamanism. The Lord of the Earth has created the world and has taught men what they know (including how to grow).
opium). Every village has an altar on a large tree near the houses. Its function is to help protect the villagers against the evil spirits responsible for illness, bad harvests, and death.
In each house, there are tutelary spirits that protect the family and its animals (the spirit of the ancestral altar, the spirit of the central house post, the spirit of the hearth, the spirit of the door, and the spirit of the bedroom). The spirit of the door is particularly important because it guards the entry to the house and allows the dead to leave it for the next life.
Each village possesses at least one female or male shaman, who is in charge of all religious ceremonies. He or she can contact the spirit world while in a trance and can cure the sick by fighting the evil spirits possessing them. The shaman is paid for his or her services and is also given a share in the flesh of the sacrificed animals.
9. Traditional dress
Blue or black Hmong women wear knee-length hemp or cotton skirts with accordion pleats. They are dyed indigo, which gives them their characteristic blue-black color, and are decorated with geometric patterns embroidered in red, pink, or mauve. The short jacket is made of black cotton (or sometimes velvet), has a collar at the back that ends in two points, and is decorated with brightly colored designs.
An embroidered white apron and black leggings complete the costume. The women wear their long hair in a chignon rolled up on the top of their heads.
At festivals, white Hmong women wear woven hemp skirts. For everyday wear, they wear black or blue Chinese trousers and an ankle-length embroidered apron. Their short jackets are made of black cotton and have an embroidered rectangular collar at the back. Their hair is put up into a chignon or covered with an embroidered turban.
Striped Hmong women wear a short jacket with an embroidered collar at the back and long sleeves decorated with blue or white stripes. Chinese trousers and an embroidered apron complete the costume. Like the Hmong women of the other groups, they wear their long hair rolled up into a chignon on the top of their heads.
Like the women, Hmong men wear a short, black, cotton, or velvet jacket. The button hole, which is either at the neck or on the front, is often embroidered with predominantly red or pink geometric patterns. Wide, black Chinese trousers, an embroidered belt almost six meters long that is wound round and round the waist, and a close-fitting black cotton hat (rather like a ski cap) with a red pompon complete the costume.
The Hmong wear part of their fortune on their person in the form of silver jewelry, which provides a symbol of prosperity and success. Newborn babies receive their first silver ring at their naming ceremony, at the age of three days old. During the New Year’s festivities, each woman decks herself out with heavy bracelets, earrings, rings, chains, pendants shaped like animals, arrows, or padlocks, and several necklaces (sometimes as many as five or six). Men wear necklets or torques of the same metal.
The Hmong are real mountain dwellers. They build their houses at high altitudes (between 1000 and 1,500 meters), not far from the tops of mountains but on the slopes, out of the wind and rain. A village is usually made up of between 6 and 15 houses, but it has no walls or gates, as Akha villages do. Although they are hospitable to outsiders, the Hmong live well away from other hill tribes. A village usually only contains members of a single clan.
In the past, the Hmong used to move their villages at regular intervals so as to find new terrain for poppy cultivation. Poppy growing has disappeared in Thailand and has been replaced by wet rice cultivation and vegetable and fruit growing. Consequently, inhabited sites have become fixed.
The site of a Hmong house is selected with great care because it must meet with the approval of the ancestors. The houses are rectangular and built straight into the ground. They have a main room with two hearths (one in the center for the human inhabitants and another for preparing the pig food). There are also one or more bedrooms, which are separated by partitions. The walls are made from planks of wood without windows, and the roofs are thatched with reeds or tiled. The main door opens onto the downward slope of the mountainside and is surmounted by a wooden sword, which keeps away evil spirits. The altar of the ancestors is high up on the wall opposite the door.
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