Choj Nyiaj

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Choj Nyiaj
Choj Nyiaj

 A choj nyiaj is a silver bar given to a Hmong bride by her parents when she gets married. It can also be given as gifts or used for funerals. In English, it is translated as "Bridge Money," when used for a wedding. This tradition came from my ancestors in China and Laos for thousands of years. This item usually cost around $100 - $600 for the real silver ones and are very valuable. When my mom got married she was given a choj nyiaj by her mother and still keeps it safe till this day. My mom told me that it brings good fortune and wealth to the couple. The choj nyiaj is very important to us because it’s a part of our culture. Therefore, this item is very valuable when getting married in Hmong culture. In the Hmong culture, silver is very important because it symbolizes wealth. Hmong people are famous for their silverwork and are very skilled silversmiths and blacksmiths dating back to 5,000 years ago. Hmong people originated from China, and many were imprisoned by the Chinese because the Chinese wanted the Hmong to lose their culture and language. A Hmong man was very clever and figured out a way to melt the silver of the handcuffs and escaped. He later than used the silver from the handcuffs and made a xauv. After the xauv was made, other silverwork was made by silversmiths.The choj nyiaj is very important to the Hmong culture as well as other silver items. It’s a very valuable artifact that the Hmong have been holding on for many generations and moving forward. 

Place(s): China, Laos, United States
Year: 1986

– Mercedes

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant