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The Spirit Catches You and You Call Down

In: Business and Management

Submitted By ddk88
Words 4637
Pages 19
Assignment 1
1. What do you think of traditional Hmong birth practices (pp. 3-5)? Compare them to the techniques used when Lia was born (p. 7). How do Hmong and American birth practices differ?

I find the traditional birth practices peculiar and very unsafe. The conceiving of a child should be done in a sterile environment by professionals, so that the risks of negative effects like infections, wounds, etc. is minimized. Nevertheless I think the tradition, that the placenta is buried by the father, so that the soul can return to it’s first jacket, in order to continue it’s after death journey, is a wonderful way of believing what comes after death.
Professional doctors handled Lia’s birth the American way, with her mother lying on a metal table with sterile drapes and no anaesthetics. This is a big difference to the Hmon customs, where Foua would have squatted on the dirty floor and pulled the baby out by herself, while trying not to touch the floor and not waking her other kids, until the new-born starts to cry. Another difference is that the Hmong bury the baby’s placenta and the Americans incinerate it.
After birth a soul calling ceremony officially in order to confirm the quality of Lia’s name and pleasing the soul to reside in Lia’s body to protect her from illness and evil spirits.

2. Over many centuries the Hmong fought against a number of different peoples who claimed sovereignty over their lands; they were also forced to emigrate from China. How do you think these up-heavals have affected their culture? What role has history played in the formation of Hmong culture?

The Hmong have had a marathon series of bloody fights, since the time they were living in the river plains of north-central China. As they did not accept any persecution or pressure of other governments to adapt they grew stronger with each time anybody tried to defeat...

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