The Green Lady

The GREEN LADY? Where is she? Who is she?

green lady.jpg

“Is this the Green Lady?” (Google image)

No. The Green Lady is a term we use in the Hmong culture related to weddings.  The green lady aka is the bridemaid. She is often chosen by the groom family, and related to his family because one of her job is to help the bride transition to the groom’s family. Her other job is to follow the bride everywhere during the wedding which can take up two whole days depending on traditions. Why follow the bride everywhere? In ancient times, marriages were not because of love but political reasons or arranged. The green lady follows the bride for the entire timing of the wedding to ensure that she does not run away because the Hmong culture have a tradition of a bride price. Before the wedding, there are messengers, relative, elders, and parents who are involved in the negotiation of the bride price. Because she is worth money, she cannot run away from the wedding. Brides back in the day were similarly like property and had to be paid for, which is why the bride price exist. Her labor will be gone once she is marry away and the money is to help the family for the time being especially since everyone were farmers. Although it is an ancient tradition, the Hmong still keeps the traditions as a sign of respect for the bride’s parent and not so much that she is property and can be bought.  


A little context to the Green Lady: According to Hmong Culture, there are many traditions that are strict and need to follow. One example is that the groom’s family have to carry a basket of goods such as blankets, pack of rice, oil, boiled chicken and ect when he takes his bride back home to pay the bride price. The bride and green lady have to be dressed in Hmong clothes and there are no white fancy wedding dress or a reception party. Hmong are run by clans base on last names. As we only have 18 last names, it is important to understand one’s own family tree and roots. Each family then falls in a clan depending on religion as well as dialect of white or green. Most Hmong who are shamans are more traditional. Once two people decided that they want to get marry, they notify their parents and the groom takes his bride home. He will notify her parents via his clan by sending two messengers. This will alert her parents and start the negotiating process for her bride price and to set a wedding date. She is not allowed to return home until the wedding and may have to stay at her in-laws for up to three days. Once the wedding date is set the groom’s family chooses the best man and the green lady.


I have never had the chance to be a Green Lady, but I can imagine the green lady being a legit job. It is tiring to follow the bride everywhere especially if she have a lot of friends, and had to be everywhere in the house to the back yard, and basement. She also have to take drinks for respect and cultural reasons while making sure the bride is there. It’s like being a bodyguard. According to elders t is a honorable job to the the Green Lady.


It is kind of sad, the bride cannot pick her bridesmaid /Green Lady, but it is okay. She can make a new friend. Do you have weird traditions for weddings?  

#Hmongweddings #greenlady #traditions



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