It was not until recently that I began to gather items I would put in my daughter’s hope chest in preparation for her wedding one day. She is not engaged yet, but is at an age when she may get married, so I must be prepared. Perhaps I waited because the thought of her getting married and leaving us is more than I can bear to imagine. I have one daughter and I love her more than she knows.
In the Hmong culture, when a daughter marries, her parents typically gift her with certain cultural items and money. Call it a dowry. What I have gathered so far have been traditional clothing and a baby carrier. A baby carrier is a symbol of good luck and is given as a blessing for healthy babies.
In the past, mothers handmade these beautiful and sturdy baby carriers for their daughters. Now they can be purchased at the Hmong flea market, luckily for me, because I do not sew. The baby carrier is meaningful because it illustrates the love a mother has for her daughter and future grandchildren. By gifitng her a baby carrier, she is blessing her daughter in her married life and future role as a mother. A baby carrier may also be given to a son and daughter in law.
I also have purchased a couple of traditional outfits, although I plan to look for a few more. Below is an outfit I purchased for her to wear to the annual New Year celebration. It will be part of her dowry. There are more items that will go in her hope chest, some of it it will be new, some will be sentiment pieces that will be handed down from mother to daughter, generation to generation. Her heritage and our family legacy will live on as long as these traditions are observed.