Below, a photo fo a Flower Hmong girl taken at Bac Ha’s Sunday Market. Don’t intend to be patronising – these guys have as much right to a cellphone as anyone – but it does look incongruous next to their centuries-old traditional costumes!
The ‘Flower Hmong’ or ‘Variegated Hmong’ is one of the numerous sub groups of the Hmong ethnic group who are found widely scattered across Southeast Asia and Southern China, (though we did once go to a Hmong cultural festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin!) There are linguistic divisions between different groups but Hmong sub-groups are generally identified by the predominant colour of their traditional costumes.
Flower Hmong are amongst the most colourful and employ just about any colour going as well as frequently incorporating flower designs into their embroidery. They’re mostly concentrated in Ha Giang province in Vietnam’s far north though many still live over the border in China’s Kwangsi Province. Bac Ha with it’s famous Sunday market is a very popular meeting point for Flower Hmong as well as being popular with tourists wishing to photograph their spectacular costumes.
Southern China is the original Hmong homeland and estimates give around 3 million Hmong speakers in China. Vietnam comes 2nd with nearly 800,000, followed by 450,000 in Laos and some 150,000 in Thailand. We’ll be following this post up with some pix and info on other Hmong groups such as the Black, White, Red Hmong and if anyone has any info on the Green and notoriously shy Blue Hmong we’d be pleased to hear from you!
Bac Ha market was visited during an ‘Unexplored – the Far North‘ tour to Northern Laos and Vietnam and thanks very much to Wi for the great pictures. Cheers!