H’mong youth club acts to preserve and promote their indigenous culture
In the three years since it began operations, Action for Hmong Development, a group of H’mong ethnic young people, has significantly contributed to preserving and promoting the indigenous culture of their tribe.
AHD club members dressed in traditional H’mong costumes to deliver an art performance at the 2018 annual programme in Hanoi to reproduce the lunar New Year celebrations of H’Mong people. (Photo: AHD)
Through the AHD’s official Facebook fanpage, which has attracted 6,000 likes and followers so far, the group introduces the traditional cultural practices and customs of H’mong people, such as wife catching, the farewell ceremony for death, ancient songs and poems in H’mong language and their life experiences.
The fanpage has established itself as a forum for young people in Hanoi and other localities across the country to practice their culture and language, thus safeguarding their long-standing cultural values.
Recalling the first days of the establishment of AHD, Khang A Tua, the group’s head, said that the club initially had 12 members, who were born in the northern provinces of Yen Bai, Lao Cai and Ha Giang but were all living and studying in Hanoi at that time.
They first met while participating in a six-month project launched in 2015 by the Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment (iSEE) as volunteers.
Tua, born in Mu Cang Chai district in Yen Bai province, said that by working together, the 12 H’mong youths recognised a need to create a space to practice their mother language and culture. As a result, AHD was founded in August 2015, and its Facebook page debuted two months later.
Throughout its operation, the club’s members have held that the H’mong ethnic culture faces the risk of being lost, as more and more H’mong young people are not able to speak their mother language, and young H’mong couples don’t know where to find H’mong fairy tales to tell their kids. Folklore culture has gradually disappeared with the decrease of H’mong elders.
With their determination and vitality, AHD has made practical actions to search for, protect and uphold the H’mong culture, by hosting a series of talk shows to shed light on the life and customs of the H’mong people.
Khang A Tua, head of AHD club (first from left) at an event to introduce a collection of H’Mong folk stories. (Photo: AHD)
Prominent among the activities is the annual programme held in Hanoi to reproduce the traditional lunar New Year celebrations of the H’Mong people, which has attracted thousands of visitors in each edition.
Most recently, AHD debuted a collection of H’Mong folk stories with illustrations by painter Nguyen The Linh. The collection groups stories in three major topics: Nature and Humans, the History of H’Mong people, and the Cultural Practices of H’mong people.
The publication is the fruit of one year of hard work by the club’s members after their field trips to H’mong villages across the northern provinces to meet and listen to the old memories of the village’s elders.
The club’s activities have also helped its members to enrich their knowledge on their ethnic group. Thanks to their efforts, a space gathering those who are interested in the H’Mong ethnic culture has been established to nurture and hand down the cultural values of the H’Mong people in modern life./.