In Chia Youyee Vang’s book, “Hmong America” she explores the various contemporary issues in the Hmong American community. In her chapter, “Continuity and Reinventions of Traditions” Vang states, “many Hmong Americans contend that New Year celebrations have become too commercialized” (p. 105) The Hmong New Year festivals no longer hold a sense of traditional practices of celebrating the new year, but has become a place for small businesses to gain profit from the merchandise they sell.
The traditions in the Hmong culture is constantly changing and evolving; does that necessarily mean it’s for the better good? From personal experience, I would have to agree that the times are changing and there has been an increase of merchandising on the festival grounds. However, something that is not necessarily explained in Vang’s book is the consequence of the changing dynamics because of the commercialized space. What is the predicted outcome of these Hmong New Year festivals if these spaces continue to be a place for small businesses to profit off of their customers rather than to celebrate the traditions of the Hmong culture? What are the motivations for small business owners to use these spaces to sell their products? Are these spaces jeopardized from the capitalist society we live in and if so, will it change the way we see Hmong traditional practices in our culture? What other alternatives should we seek in order to celebrate our culture without the space being commercialized or is it impossible?