On Friday July 20th I attended the 1st annual Hmong Midsummer Night Market at The Falls Event Center. It was quite a packed event with vendors all over and people fighting for parking spaces in the parking lot.
I already did a review of the event for Elk Grove Tribune here and you can check it out. But I wanted to write about the event on a more personal level. You see this was the first time I attended a Hmong event KNOWING THAT I HAVE HMONG DNA IN ME! Because of some recent revelations through 23 & Me and We Gene, I now know that I am approximately 3% Hmong. I was FLABBERGASTED when I first found out, mainly because I’ve believed all my life I was full Cantonese Chinese.
Although I was an Ethnic Studies Major and knew what being Hmong was, I really needed to delve in and refresh myself about Hmong history. The Hmong (or Miao) are technically listed as one of the 55 ethnic groups in China. However, they do not consider themselves to be Chinese, but rather a separate ethnicity. During the Qing Dynasty, the Hmong were killed and persecuted. This is a fact. Therefore, many Hmong fled China. Outside of China, many Hmong have settled into present day Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. After the Vietnam War, many Hmong migrated to the United States. Fresno, Stockton, and Sacramento have quite high Hmong populations (percentage of an entire city’s population), compared with other cities in the United States.
I had the privilege to meet some pretty cool Hmong people at the Hmong Midsummer Night Market. I’m going to mention a few.
I was introduced to the members of Txhawb Zog, a Hmong band. They are a really friendly and vocally talented group who generously gifted me a cd. Even if you don’t understand Hmong, I recommending giving Txhawb Zog’s cd Yog Peb Nyob Ua Ke a try. There are songs in English too. Most noteworthy, Bour Nhia Her really has an incredible voice.
I also met a Hmong singer and comedian a Hmong singer and comedian named Paj Yeeb Muas. Roxy was enthralled by the way she was dressed up so I asked her if she would take a pic with Roxy. She was a passionate, warm, and funny individual. I have enjoyed checking out her performances on Youtube.
I didn’t get a chance to try any Hmong food because the lines were way too long. But I was able to buy knick knacks and a few items.
Most importantly, I enjoyed the Hmong Midsummer Night Market, not just because there were a lot of cool vendors and I met some nice people, but also because that night I made a connection to whatever side of me is Hmong. I don’t know how to fully explain what it was like to bask in the glow of being at a “Hmong” event for the first time knowing that I am of a some Hmong descent. Now, I don’t speak any Hmong and I am just starting to learn bits and pieces about Hmong culture. But I really am enjoying this process of delving into my roots.
Like many of my stories about events, this really isn’t a story about the event. It’s about connections. It’s about making my making connections to people and finding connections to a culture that I am starting to understand is a part of my history. I’m looking forward to the next Hmong event. Hopefully next time, I’ll get a chance to try out some Hmong food.
Dr. Jacqueline "Jax" Cheung grew up in Sacramento, California. She is a Christian Wife, Proud Mom, Major Foodie, Sacramento Native, Elk Grove Resident, Feminist, Adoption Advocate, Blogger, Freelance Writer, and Cat Lover. Jax is the owner of the award winning Jax Chronicles Blog & Adoption Ministry. She is also the Editor-In-Chief of the Elk Grove Tribune, and freelances for Sacramento4Kids, and many other publications. Jax is married to Dr. Kenneth Cheung (Kenny). Jax and Kenny live in Elk Grove, California and have 2 daughters named Roxy and Carissa, and 3 cats named Mochi, Miso, and Mango. To follow her journey please like her Jax Chronicles Facebook page, follow her Instagram @jaxchronicles, follow her Twitter @jaxchronicles, or check out Jax Chronicles Blog & Adoption ministry.