Some of the material in the TriCollege Libraries Digital Collections is available only to members of the TriCollege community. Please use your institutional credentials to log in. By logging in, you may be able to gain access to certain collections or items that are not visible by guest users. If you have questions about access or logging in, please use the form on the Contact page.
When the bride price is established and paid, the wedding is celebrated the next day by honoring the families and ancestral spirits. One of See's messengers, holding the umbrella representing her, calls out names of her family, both living and dead. Toua and his best man respond by falling to the floor, kowtowing twice to each of her relatives.
Katrina Thomas's notes: Originally inhabiting the mountainous regions of southern China and northern areas of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, a few Hmong began to emigrate from Laos starting in 1975. Due to devastation and loss during the Vietnam War, an estimated 145,000 came to the U.S. The first wedding I photograph is Hmong Christian in Minneapolis in1986. Later weddings, photographed in Fresno, CA, retain their animist traditions, heeding the spirits and demons of nature, and honoring ancestors. The couple meet when playing a courtship game of pom pov during a festival held in late December and if a boy and girl like each other, he kidnaps her and sends a message to her family that he wants to marry. In preparing for every wedding four "messengers," two from each family, negotiate her bride price, which is preceded by a "tie hand" rite, designed to facilitate a favorable outcome. The wedding itself is feasting and ritual drinking by men, according to many rules, while the bridegroom and best man genuflect constantly to honor living and dead members of both families. As the Hmong have become integrated into mainstream society, many of their marriage customs have disappeared.