The first Hmong refugees began settling in the United States in 1975 but still practice their religious beliefs, which is animism and shamanism also known as Txiv Neeb. Since many diverse cultures come to the U.
S. they practice less of their religion because they are becoming Americanized. As the younger generation seems to have forgotten the traditions of their own culture, the older ones never forgot their traditions. Animism is deemed that every living object has a soul or a spirit. Shamanism consists of a human being either male or female.
A shaman who travels between the visible and the spirit worlds through rituals. It is notable amongst the Hmong as they believe it can help with healing and health of the sick person, usually, Hmong’s would go to the medical centers and find out by the doctor what the person really has sometimes they would prefer shamans. Shamans jobs are not supposed to “ heal your physical health” it is more to reawaken or mend belief. There are treatments to which a ritual that includes herbal remedies, offerings of joss paper money or livestock. They perform an entry to the spirit world to find out why it is happening and a remedy to a person who is seriously ill, usually involves a lost soul. A rite called ua neeb has several parts. The first process is called ua neeb Saib to determine what cause of the illness.
The shaman examines the “ illness” of the individual such as the soul losing their way home and having to be caught by another spiritual. Then he or she will negotiate with who is in control of the soul occasionally it will work thus ending the first ritual process. Next, the second process begins after the individual is starting to recuperate themselves from the illness, it is referred to as ua neeb kho, it includes the burning of the joss paper money and a sacrificial animal in exchange for the welfare of the individual’s soul. Friends and families are to participate the ceremony, during the ceremony they tie a white ribbon around their wrists and each gives the person a word(s) of encouragement. Among the Hmong community most of them do not prefer to go to healthcares as they feel uncomfortable with the health care procedures in the U. S. They have doubts about the Western medicines if it can really help with the sick person.
On occasions they can convince themselves that the doctors in the US can be useful and no harm can come their way. When a an individual is really sick the Hmong interpret it as soul has been lost, including, they call upon a shaman to help and figure out the “ diagnostic.” When in desperate need of an emergency they would go to the hospitals but also call a shaman to do the ritual ceremony. In the Hmong culture it is taboo when the doctors perform any type of surgery because they believe their condition is imbalanced so that the damaged person can not be complete for reincarnation.
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