GRAVEYARD GAFFE. Youa Her of Fresno, California inspects the
headstone of her late husband after it was moved back into
position at Mountain View Cemetery in Fresno, California. The
manager of the cemetery in central California says he will learn
more about Hmong culture and traditions after an uproar on
social media over headstones that were moved without proper
Hmong ritual. (Lewis Griswold/The Fresno Bee via AP)
From The Asian Reporter, V28, #4 (February 19, 2018),
Hmong fear for spirits of the dead after
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — The manager of a cemetery in central
California said he will learn more about Hmong culture and
traditions after an uproar on social media over headstones that
were moved without the proper ritual.
Mountain View Cemetery manager Randy Giovannoni said staff
moved four or five upright gravestones to dig a grave for a
Hmong burial, The Fresno Bee reported.
Hmong believe that moving the headstones without proper
ritual disturbs the spirits of the dead, and that could cause
harm to living relatives, especially their grandchildren.
Giovannoni said he did not know moving headstones was
problematic until a Hmong television station called him about
photos of the headstones being shared hundreds of times on
"The last thing I want to do is upset the Hmong community,"
Giovannoni said. "If this is a cultural issue, it was never
brought to my attention. I felt like the guy in Hawai‘i (who
mistakenly issued a missile alert)."
Youa Her of Fresno said she saw a photo on Facebook that
showed the headstone of her late husband, Seng Her, had been
moved by several feet.
"I came here at 7:00am. I am very upset. I was in shock," she
She was one of a number of Hmong families who went to the
cemetery to check on the headstones of their loved ones.
"I just saw it on social media," said Kabao Xiong of Fresno,
who has several relatives buried there. "It’s their home. It’s
not right to move it. They should notify the families so they
are not in such shock."
Giovannoni said he will meet with a representative of the
Hmong community to learn about cultural expectations and will
make changes in procedures.
"If someone would have explained, I would have done
something," Giovannoni said.