Vang’s chapter on culture and our in-class discussions was about authenticity. So what is authenticity? I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing, it is a construction and accepted as real. Vang points out that the Hmong New Year was altered in Long Cheng because the community transitioned into an urban settlement (pg.104). Such things as Lao dancing, beauty pageants, and stage performances were never apart of the event or culture, but has been introduced and accepted as the norm now. This points to how authenticity and culture can be created. In addition to this, foods from various influences are common at festivals and ceremonies. Dishes from Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand have found their way into the Hmong’s daily diets.
Personally I agree with Vang’s assertion, the event changes depending on the location and type of economy. For example here in the states, the New Years are centered on consumerism. There are many booths that sell, sell, and sell. This new orientation alienates a lot of the elders who miss the community aspect of the event. My folks are very disinterested in the New Years because it’s not what they remember it to be. Younger folks now don’t participate in the community activities they use to engage in: such as exchange of songs and ball tossing.
Pictures and information on the Ball Tossing courtship: