HMONG FUNERAL SONGS
DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE
Orally recited songs play a key role in the traditional Hmong funeral ceremony along with the performance of songs on the Qeej instrument.
One example of an important orally recited Hmong funeral song is “Cob Tsiaj” – (Song to give blessing to the family of the deceased through the sacrifice of a pig). This song is typically sung at a traditional Hmong funeral by the Txiv Xaiv (ceremonial funeral singer). The song “Cob Tsiaj” signifies the support (a pig) given to the deceased family by relatives and the community. As another example, the grieving family’s response song “Txia Tsiaj” (Receiving the Pig) is also orally recited by a ceremonial funeral singer. The response song “Txia Tsiaj” represents the mourning family’s thank you to the organizers of the funeral and also involves an expression of hope that the community will do its best to help the family at this difficult time.
Click this link to watch a video clip of Tougeu Leepalao of Hmong Cultural Center teaching Hmong funeral songs to a class:
Tougeu Leepalao teaches orally recited Hmong funeral songs to a class at Hmong Cultural Center