There are 19 known Hmong clans in Laos, but only 17 are widespread throughout

Southeast Asia. The traditional clan names, with spelling variations are:

1. Chang/Chai

2. Cheng

3. Chue/Tsue

4. Kong/ Song/ Soung

5. Kue

6. Khang/ Kha

7. Fang

8. Hang

9. Her/Herr/ Heu

10. Lao/ Lo/ Lor

11. Lee/Ly

12. Moua

13. Pha/Phang

14. Tang

15. Thao/ Thor/ Thow/ Torr

16. Va/ Vang/ Vangh

17. Vu/ Vue

18. Xiong/ Shong/ Siong

19. Ya/ Yang

Various families use their paternal ancestors' name as their family namenow. This creates a new family name that will eventually be marked asits own clan. This is equal to Western suffixed names such as Johnson, Michaelson, etc.The clan is a cluster of families using the same last name, and is themost significant aspect of Hmong culture, as people sharing clan names can not date or marry one another.Tracing common ancestors is not necessary; the common bond of clan names issufficient. But the stronger bond lies within the family ties. A family consists of two common features: clan name and traditions. The clanname plays a vital role of adjusting and attributing values and beliefs withinthe family. It is particularly significant in the arts and language becausethis determines some differences in dialect and the oral poetry and/or folktales. To be included as a family member, one needs to know one's descendants by citingor using the various ways of peroforming spiritual rituals- "kev lis kevcai ntawmkev dabqhuas"- such as offering sacrificial goods, funeral rites, and methods ofworship. Hmong families that share clan names, but use different dialects, beliefs, and/orcermonial practices, cannot be considered to be one family, but are of one clan.

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