Xauv (The Hmong Necklace)

In Attire

 The xauv is the Hmong necklace that is more than a piece of jewelry to us; it's a necklace that means “lock” to remind us when the Hmong people were captured by the Chinese. The Hmong were enslaved and  forced to wear necklaces for identification. After our independence, the xauv were designed in remembrance of hardships. Now we wear it as an accessory when our community has celebrations; we wear our pretty traditional clothing and top it off with our xauv. When I was younger, my grandma would always want us to wear Hmong clothing because she would sew and design outfits for us and do photoshoots. The outfits were pretty, but the big heavy xauv would be my favorite because it came in different designs. I felt like I always needed a xauv on top of my Hmong outfit to make it look complete. The xauv weighs about 2lbs and silver is the only color because silver keeps away bad spirits, brings good luck,health and prosperity to themselves. The xauv comes with many designs and shapes. The xauv was made in China, but now there are artificial designs that you get at any Asian flea markets.  I did Hmong traditional dancing and needed a xauv to complete the outfit.  I have many xauv, but I think my favorite ones are the simple 3 ringed ones. Growing up I used to like the ones with many designs, but it was always so heavy and my hair would get caught up in it.  The xauv made me realize that it's just not an accessory that Hmong people wear, but everything we wear has meaning to it.

Place(s): China, Minnesota

– Jocelyn Kong

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant