The older generation is more involved with their culture as opposed to the younger ones. The elders are more knowledgeable and in touch with their spirituality, as well as comprehending the Mien language while the adults are in the middle. Their interactions with the elders and youth differ with communication. Lastly, the youth are assimilating into the American culture but are still trying to grasp onto remnants of their heritage.
“We continue our traditions by allowing the kids to observe and follow us,” said Nai Saefong.
The Mien culture is maintained through observations and listening. When a ceremony is happening, the upcoming generation has to learn the traditions by incorporating what they see and hear into action. Young men will watch their fathers and grandfathers make Mien money by hammering black sticks into the material to create detail. They’ll help with making religious sacrifices, using chickens and pigs as an offering. While young women are expected to cook certain dishes, clean up, and keep guests content.
However, I’m becoming more logical and practical. The teachings of the Mien culture don’t appeal to me, because I don’t understand the superstitions. Majority of the rituals are about receiving luck. For example, having nightmares will call for a ceremony to get rid of the bad luck or “bad spirit.” Simple things are regarded highly and I see it as paranoia. This makes me question my own culture.
As we are getting older, some will choose to uphold their family customs while others will lose sight of the importance of the Mien culture.