Leisure Recreation and the Arts

Hmong needlework is becoming more of a specialty in the United States as fewer females grow up knowing how to produce the ornately paneled clothes that they are expected to wear at weddings and public celebrations. Interest in male crafts and ceremonial roles is also declining. Alarmed by these trends, Hmong MAAs and cultural centers are recruiting recognized experts to instruct youths, both males and females, in a broad range of heritage practices. Although cultural maintenance is the stated goal, new forms of art and entertainment are emerging from a mix of programs that reflect a long and complex history of acculturative experiences.

Hmong boys were introduced to the game of soccer in Laos, and it is probably their most popular organized sport in the United States. Major tournaments are held throughout the country during the summer. Teams also continue to play kab taub, a game with both volleyball-and soccer-like elements. A wicker ball is volleyed over a net with head and foot strikes. Measured in terms of total participation, volleyball is eclipsing kab taub in popularity. Boys compete at spinning tops less often now than was the case in Laos. Possibly the most dramatic change in Hmong sports activity in the United States is the participation of girls. Unlike in Laos, it is considered normal, even desirable, for girls to spend time playing games like volleyball and badminton, and they have excelled at these sports at interscholastic competitions.

Music associated with courtship is discussed in the section on Courtship and Marriage.

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