Sunday, February 16, 2014

Vietnam, Lai Chau province: H'Mong girls

The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Great aspect of the Hmong culture is the clothing and hairstyles, which are very closely connected to their identities. From the costumes different Hmong clans are recognized. There are distinct hairstyles of both men and women and their symbolic meaning. Until recently, Hmong men kept their hair long braided into a queue and shaved on both sides. They believed that long hair would protect you from evil spirits and pigtail symbolized an object that could be used to scare such spirits away. For women, similar to many cultures hair stays long, mostly to distinguish them as women and to show the beauty. Hairstyles are also used to indicate marital status. Married women mostly in certain regions of Laos and Vietnam put their hair up in a top bun to show they are married while single women wear their hair down around their shoulders.

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