Minnesota History: Building A Legacy

Preserving Hmong Rituals

Bride and groom in traditional Hmong ceremony

Bride and groom Crystal Vang and Tom Yang, married in a traditional Hmong
ceremony May, 2011 in Vadnais Heights. Photo: Yeng Lor Photography.

For thousands of years, Hmong marriage and funeral traditions and songs have been passed down from generation to generation.

Txong Pao Lee, who came to St. Paul 26 years ago from a refugee camp in Thailand, wants to make sure those traditions never get lost.

“Hmong kids born in this country can’t always understand Hmong,” said Lee, the executive director of the Hmong Cultural Center in St. Paul. “We want to make these traditions accessible for everyone.”

$6,500 from the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant Program is making it possible for the Hmong Cultural Center to produce new editions of two books about Hmong marriage and funeral traditions and to translate those books into English. The books will be available in print and for free on the Cultural Center’s website.

“By making these important cultural traditions available to everyone, we are preserving them for many years to come.”
~ Txong Pao Lee, executive director of the Hmong Cultural Center