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home : community Sunday, November 19, 2017

5/1/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Hmong Cultural Center Publishes Books on Weddings and Funerals

By Amy Doeun

Pictures of the book covers are from the courtesy of Mark Pfeiffer.
For many families the rituals that surround marriage and death are key to maintaining a cultural heritage and passing that heritage on to the next generation. For years the Hmong Cultural Center has been offering classes in Tshoob Kos (Wedding Procedures) and Kev Cai Pam Tuag (Funeral Procedures).The information in these classes came from books by the same name and compiled by Tougeu Leepalao, the Cultural Consultant of Hmong Cultural Center between 1995 and 2005. The books were originally only available in Hmong RPA script and printed in limited numbers with distribution managed by the Hmong Cultural Center.

Now the "Hmong Cultural Center has completed a major project initiative involving the translation into English and production of two books - Tshoob Kos (Wedding Procedures) and Kev Cai Pam Tuag (Funeral Procedures)." Xai Lor, Librarian and Txongpao Lee, Executive Director of Hmong Cultural Center were key in completing this project.

Xai Lor said of the project, "The translation book project is important due to the fact that many of the rites in traditional Hmong practices are slowly fading away. Young Hmong adults and the younger Hmong generations are culturally incompetent, alienated from their cultural practices and do not necessarily understand the practices in their community." He added that because Hmong people "practice an oral tradition, many of the practices are taught and learned orally from the elders." But that this is difficult as it requires much "memorization and recital."

He added that he hopes, "the translated book project will help the young Hmong adults and younger generations to have a better understanding about traditional Hmong wedding and funeral practices, and to fill any gaps of things they might not know about. It's good that it is in a book format so that it can be easily read in both Hmong and English. I am a young adult and I didn't understand much about these traditional Hmong practices but after the completion of this project, I have a better understanding."

The book was published with help from the 2012 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage grant from the Minnesota Historical Society and "funded, in part, by the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008." The published, Western & Southern Life's Saint Paul office "provided generous financial support for the printing of these newly available publications" and Roger Soung, Western and Southern Life's agency manager in St. Paul said, "Supporting the Hmong community is very important to Western & Southern Life and especially to me . . . Having a common pride in our Hmong heritage brings us all closer together as a community."

Txongpao Lee, Executive Director of Hmong Cultural Center summed up: "Hmong Cultural Center worked very hard on this project for more than a year. We are very excited that young Hmong and interested non-Hmong will now have access to detailed information about the traditional procedures associated with both the Hmong wedding and funeral ceremonies. The successful completion of this project will help Hmong Cultural Center better fulfill its mission of promoting knowledge of Hmong culture among both Hmong and in the wider society."

How to Order the Books: Visit http:///http://www.hmongcc.org/hmong-weddingfuneral-books.html or the Hmong Cultural Center offices in Saint Paul to order copies of Tshoob Kos (Wedding Procedures) and Kev Cai Pam Tuag (Funeral Procedures). Individual copies are $12.00 a piece if picked up at the Hmong Cultural Center or $15.00 if ordered online. A check in the amount of $15.00 or $30.00 for both books may also be mailed to Hmong Cultural Center, 995 University Avenue, Suite 214, Saint Paul, MN 55101. Institutional Purchase Orders are accepted and may be mailed or faxed to 651-917-9978. Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery.

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