Friday, May 24, 2013

Liz Shigetoshi - Week 8

In “Continuity and Reinventions of Traditions”, author, Chai Youyee Vang, describes the struggle between sustaining old Hmong traditions and adopting new ones as more Hmong people are forced to move and migrate over to the United States. One of the main practices/celebrations she introduces is the Hmong New Year celebration. She also mentions how the struggle is due to the displacement of refugees, the growing generation gap, and the change in rights and freedom present in America. This questions the ability to maintain a sense of continuity and authenticity. To what point are practices considered not authentic? Are people of other background allowed to learn the rituals or do they have to be Hmong?

Reading this chapter made me reflect on how this sense of tradition versus invention and modernization occurs for all ethnicities coming to America. From what I've seen and from what Vang elaborates on, there's a lot of Hmong religious and cultural rituals and practices that are very distinct and unique to the Hmong community. Unfortunately, when it comes to defining the culture, it's not easy to make everyone in any community happy; there has to be a willingness to adjust and compromise over time. I would feel really torn to choose between the ways of the older generations and the ways of the newer generations: I feel it's important to remember, respect, and appreciate where you've come from, and at the same time it' hard teach a new generation older traditions and expect it to remain the same or "authentic".

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