1. The Cham ethnic group
The Cham concentrates on the provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, An Giang, Binh Dinh, Dong Nai, Phu Yen, Tay Ninh and Ho Chi Minh City. The Cham lives in the ground house. Each family builds houses close to each other under the order: guest houses, parents’ one and young children’s, the house of married girls, kitchen and other houses including rice storage, marriage chamber where is the room of the youngest daughter and her husband. The Cham follows wet rice cultivation and is skilled on irrigation and planting fruit trees. Besides wet rice farming it still exists a kind of dry upland cultivation on the mountainside. The Cham in the South lives mainly by fishing, manual weaving and small trading, farming is only secondary. The Cham area’s famous craft is silk weaving and hand-molded pottery then baked in the open oven.
Men and women also wrap skirt on sheet, men wear shirt with short wing buttoned and sawed chest; women wear long pullover. The dominant color on costume is the white of cotton cloth. Today, in daily life, the Cham people wear like King People in Central, only long pullover still appears in older women. The Cham follows matriarchal tradition. In some areas following Islam Muslim region, they moved to patriarchal mode in which men’s role is promoted, but the matriarchal customs still survive strongly in family relationships and ancestor worship. Women are active in the marriage relationship, living in wife’s family, children is followed by mother’s surname. Wedding gifts is arranged by women’s family. They obey the monogamous marriage principles.
For the funeral, the residents under the Brahmins region, cremation is usually applied under canonical regulations, while other groups apply burying mode. People in the same family are buried at the same place under mother’s family. The Cham has written language very early, there still exist many grave monument, scripture by Cham script; however, the use of this script is very limited in the class of clergy and nobility. In terms of art and culture, the Cham left many outstanding values, in addition to rich folk treasures; it owns hundreds of gorgeous Cham towers. Ancient folk-music system influenced on Kinh’s ancient folk-music system in the Central as tambourine, Nam Ai music, Hue folk songs ... People are seen the Cham dance appears in Bon Kate festival taking place at the temples.
2. Chu-ru ethnic group
The Chu-ru concentrates on Don Duong and Duc Trong, Di Linh District, Lam Dong province, some others live in province of Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan. Wet rice cultivation is the main economic activity; there are two types of field: dry and mud field; irrigation by ditches, dikes, dams are focused; garden is grown on upland area or near, hunting and traditional gathering is still maintained; popular family crafts include knitting, crude pottery. Weaving does not develop, therefore, costume which they own come from the exchange with neighboring groups
The Chu-ru lives in the stilt house made of bamboo, wood and some other kinds of bamboo, and in village unit. They follow the matriarchal family in which women are honored and are inherited people of mother’ family. Women are active in marriage relations, after the wedding, the daughter stays in husband’s family in a half of month to wait for the ceremony to welcome the groom to wife’s family, then they live in bride’s family. Folk songs and proverbs treasure very rich, reflecting the promotion of women's role, praising the matriarchal regime.
3. Ede ethnic group
The Ede concentrates on the provinces of Dak Lak, the south of Gia Lai province and the west of Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa provinces; they have lived for long time in the Central Highlands. The Ede mainly do upland cultivation with plot rotation, mixed crops and only one crop per year; water fields with buffalo traction only appear in the area of Bih people around Bih Lak lake. They breed livestock and poultry, but primarily for religious activities. Popular family craft includes knitting by rattan to make furniture, cotton growing and cloth weaving by ancient Indonedieng frame, pottery and forging is not developed strongly.
For traditional costume, women wear long skirt to the heels, naked or wear short pullover in summer, men wear loin or shirt with short pullover, in winter men and women wear one more blanket; silver and copper jewelry and beads are popular. Previously, there was a ritual of whetting tooth, stretching ears and black tooth dying. Ede society operates under traditional customs of matrilineal family, children bring their mother’s surname, the youngest daughter is the inherited person. Village is the basic unit of residence and sole social organizations, head of each village is a person called the master of water station (po pin ea) on behalf of the wife to operate every activity of the community. Traditional house of the Ede is long stilt house with the architecture demonstrating the boat, interior space is divided into two vertical sections. The first part is called gah, as the living room and a place for public activities of the matriarchal family; the second is called ok, serving for the married couple, each chamber has bamboo partitions. The women are active in the marriage, through matchmaking they propose and marry the husband to live with her. For funeral, in the past, if people in the same family die in the time close together, coffins will be buried in the same grave; the dead were divided property and placed in the grave. When building grave, grave ending ceremony is held magnificently, then the care of souls and the grave also finishes. About art forms there are a very attractive anhydrous telling and the famous epic as Dam San, Dam Kten, Mlan; Ede music is famous for the set of 6 even gongs and 3 stud gongs, a gong to keep rhythm and a leather surface drum. No festival and cultural activities of the community take place without gong sound.
4. Ja-rai ethnic group
The Ja-rai is one of the earliest inhabitants in the mountains of the Central Highlan, concentrating on Gia Lai, some in Kon Tum province and some in the north of Dak Lak. In addition, the Gia-rai still scatters in Binh Dinh, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan .... Main economic activity is upland cultivation with simple techniques, clearing field, burning, hoeing and spreading seeds inspection pierced; breeding is quite developed including livestock, cattle, poultry and many elephants, horses; handicraft includes weaving, knitting; traditional hunting, gathering and fishing are still maintained.
Men wear loincloths with red and white stripes running along, two heads have tassels and beaded sparkling pearls, shirt with high neck and red and white stripes on the chest, women wear long skirts, skirts’ foot has the red or white colored border, dark indigo shirt tightening body, body and hand are decorated by stripes. They like wearing silver jewelry. Because of hot weather in the whole year, both men and women like naked. Village (Ploi or Bon) are both residential unit and forming the social organization. They follow the matriarchy mode; therefore, genealogy is calculated under the maternal family. The Ja-rai’s small matriarchal family is the typical difference from the Ede’s great matriarchal family. Law prohibits people in the same tontine and maternal line to get married; women is active in marriage, the reserve the custom that when the husband die the wife can get married his brother and vice verse, when the wife dies, the husband can get married to her sister; when becoming a couple, husband must live in wife’s family and no opposite story. The Ja-rai follows the ritual that all people in the same maternal line can be buried in the same grave; when men dies, he must be carried to bury near his mother’s grave. The Ja-rai follows the animism, many kinds of gods in which the god (Yang) which is mostly respected and worshiped is god of house, god of village, god of water and the king god. Also, the Ja-rai believes that when the dead turns into ghosts, there is a phenomenon that sorcerer will damage the ghost, this phenomenon is called “ma lai”. The biggest ceremony is grave ending ceremony, carving grave statue, ceremony to up a new house including eating, singing, gong performing. The Gia-rai has many epics such as Dam Di, Xinh Nha ... To Rung guitar, Krong put, Tung Nung ... are very popular.
5. Ra-glai ethnic group
The Ra-glai concentrates in Ninh Son District of Ninh Thuan Province, Bac Binh District of Binh Thuan Province and some parts of Phu Yen, the south of Khanh Hoa Province and Lam Dong in the villages (Pa Lay) in the mountains and valley with the height of 500-1000 meters. Upland cultivation always dominates the other economic activities; forging and weaving are the two fairly gorgeous handicrafts, currently, they acknowledge the wet rice cultivation.
In the past, they lived in stilt house, currently ground house becomes popular. House has the structure assembled simply. A head of a village is a Po Pa Lay (village chief) who usually has merit of building up a village. All social relations of the Ra-glai are influenced by matriarchy regime. Wedding ceremony is organized in two families, in bride’s family first. During the wedding ceremony, the most important ritual is spreading mat, on this mat, they have the first meal in the presence of two families, after the wedding, living in bride’s family is popular. For cultural and artistic aspect, the
Ra-glai has many tales, myths, the folk songs, proverbs, folk songs. Musical instrument has rock guitar instead of gong which is quite interesting and unique.