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Tibeto - Burman ethnic group



1. Cong Ethnic Group


The Cong concentrates on the communes of Muong Te District, Lai Chau province. Economy mainly bases on upland cultivation with outdated farming techniques such as deforestation, burning fields, digging holes and spreading seeds. Nowadays, they know how to use hoes and traction, know cotton growing but do not know fabric weaving; there are some additional occupations, such as knitting, knitting rattan mat dyed red; hunting and gathering still remain.
The Cong live in stilt house with 3 or 4 rooms with only one entrance; running along the main wall of the house is a small floor with little value for usage, but every house also has it which forms they typical characteristics of the Cong. The Cong’s costumes assemble to Thai’s one. In social life, women have an important role. Ritual of living in wife’s family is strictly implemented, 8-12 years previously. After proposing ceremony, men come to live in women’s family, and then women will bun their hair to the top of head, signs of married women. When this period ends, ceremony is implemented to take the bride to the groom. If the groom’s house is in the same village with the bride’s, groom must carry bride on back to his house. In the wedding day, they do not wear new clothes because there is a ritual of pouring ash water on people who go to take bride to groom’s house before leaving to pray for luckiness.
The Cong’s funeral exist many typical features. The dead is placed in coffins made by tree trunk divided into two parts and hollowed, 12 days after burying the dead, the descendants is allowed to set up the altar. Their children mourning for parents by shaving the head (son), cut sideburn (daughter) and wear mourning cloth until worshiping the new rice is implemented. Along with worshiping ancestors of 2 or 3 generations under patriarchy is to worship wife’s parents into the holiday; every year in lunar March, every village holds worship ceremony before the seed spreading season, the roads to village are made gates to ban strangers for one day. They often sing and dance at the holidays, especially during the wedding. Singing by repartees between bride and groom’s family at staircase foot is really a folk singing competition



2 - Ha Nhi Ethnic Group

The Ha Nhi settled mainly along the Vietnam-China border, Vietnam and Laos border in the districts of Bat Xat (Lao Cai), Muong Te (Lai Chau). The Ha nhi early knows growing rice on terrace fields. They are good at clearing the fields on the mountain slopes with to the skilled water canals as well as growing on plough fields and hoe fields. Raising livestock and poultry is developed under grazing style, buffaloes are grazed in the forest with the number of hundreds. Handicraft includes weaving and knitting; gathering also plays a significant role in daily life.
Village gathers many families, many villages have 50-60 households, house is built up strongly, and wall’s thickness is 40-60 cm. Village community characteristics are expressed clearly in all areas of life. In marriage, each region has its own different traditions; however, girls and boys are free to learn each other. At Bat Xat area, weddings are held two times, the first wedding is to take the bride to the husband’s family, the second time is organized magnificently in bride’s family, this ceremony only takes place when a couple is successful in working, for many people, until the death, this ceremony has not organized yet. Ha Nhi women give birth by standing, family which has the newborn will be signalized by the hat upside down on a pile in the front door, if the pile is on the right side, child is a daughter, if it is on the left, child is a son. When a person dies, the place where is used for digging grave, is chosen by throwing eggs; the place where egg is broken, people will dig there. They avoid burying in the rainy season, at this time, coffin is hang on the grave without filling, the funeral home above or placed on the platform, when the rainy season ends, and they lower the coffin and fill the soil on. The Ha nhi has many ancient legends, tales, epics, folk songs, idioms ... Folk songs and folk dance are preferred by every ages.



3. La Hu ethnic group

The La Hu concentrates on the communes of Pa U, Pa Ve Su, Ka Lang of Muong Te district, Lai Chau province. The La Hu mainly does shifting cultivation with high rotation rate. Recently, they have gradually shifted to growing on terrace fields. The La Hu is famous for weaving (tray of rice, rattan chair) and gorging. Hunting, fishing and gathering play a particularly important role in the economic life.
Currently, the La Hu commonly lives in ground house; kitchen, bedroom and altar are always at the same room. In marriage, during the wedding ceremony, the groom's gifts that brought to the bride must require dry squirrel meat; bride after wedding must live in husband’s family. When someone dies, people shoot to chase ghosts and notify relatives, said the village. They worship ancestors, parents and relatives only on the occasion of the new rice, July festival, ending the seed spreading on upland, on weddings and funerals. There is no ritual of worshipping on death anniversary. The only gift for worship to the ancestors is rice wrapped in forest leaves.



4. Lo Lo Ethnic Group


The Lo Lo resides mainly in the districts of Dong Van, Meo Vac (Ha Giang), Bao Lac (Cao Bang), Muong Khuong (Lao Cai). The Lo Lo mainly does wet farming and sedentary cultivation; family raising relatively develops and creates a source of considerable benefit.
The village locates in the mountain’s slopes and near the water source, each village has around 20-30 roofs, with three types of house: land house, half of land and silt house, the silt house. For women, some groups wear shirts with round neck and a rip on chest, some groups wear pullovers with square neck, pants with long leg and wide swift, in some other groups, they wrap short skirts, legs are wrapped by a kind of shoes named “xa cap”. Costume are decorated with patterns and gathered with color fabrics, they use patterns printed by wax. The Lo Lo's marriage rituals tend to the economic calculations with high requirements of wedding gifts. After marriage, the bride resides in husband’s family; her son can get married to his daughter of her brother no vice verse. For funeral, there are many unique rituals such as makeup, dancing, fighting ... The Lo Lo owns their hieroglyphics quite early, but now this is no longer used. About art, this is one of the few groups in our country today who still use copper drum in life. The drum is used during the funeral and to keep the rhythm for the folk dance. Only men who are not married or got married but his wife is not in her pregnancy are allowed to use drum. In normal days, they bury drum on underground on clean and discreet spaces.



5. Phu La Ethnic Group

Phu La people concentrates on the provinces of Ha Giang, Lai Chau, Son La and most crowded in Lao Cai. Economy bases on upland cultivation with terrace fields; products woven by rattan and bamboo, with many patterns and colors, such as the clothes and food container are very famous. They are familiar with using cross-bow, poisoned arrows for hunting, growing cotton, weaving, spinning with the slider. For clothing, there is a difference among the groups. Women from Phu La Lao - Bo Ko Pa groups wear short skirts and shirts, square-neck pullovers, embroidered and decorated with beads, belt is studded mountain shells. The other groups wear pants, long shirt with a rip o chest or short shirt with a rip on underarm. Men' shirt in Phu La Lao group is unique, behind the back there are many beads attached. Phu La’s men and women often wear fabric bags.
Men and women are free to find about each other before marriage. If they love each other, men are allowed to be in the bed with her lover. In wedding, there is a ritual of drinking wine and antiphonary to take bride to go back groom’s house, there exist a ritual of pulling between the bride and the groom's family, splashing dirty water and smearing pot ash on groom’s group before leaving. When giving birth, women sit, they do not sleep on the bed but sleep on straw cushion. The Phu La worships male ancestor to bless for health, and female ancestors to bless for the good crops. A part of the Phu La in Muong Khuong, Bac Ha, Xin Man has tradition of using Chinese script and consider it as daily communication tool. Treasury of folk literature is rich, many tales are much closer to the motif of King people. They use trumpets, drums. Boys and girls love singing by repartees. Phu la Lao group has spreading dace in Thai folk songs.



6. Si La Ethnic Group


The Si La residents in a few villages in Muong Te district, Lai Chau. Previously, they specialized shifting upland cultivation, now, they live mainly by growing rice, corn on fields and upland fields, gathering plays an important role in life. The Si La live in the land house with two rooms and two small wings, with a porch and one entrance, fire cook is located in the middle of the room. Women wear long skirts to legs, short shirt with opened belly, buttoned in the right underarm, typically, chest is sticked by many silver coins and aluminum coin; neck and sleeves are decorated by attaching the different color fabric lines. Black or indigo skirt, while wearing it is crossed behind. Turban is distinguished by age and marital status. Women often wear hemp woven bag. Dyeing teeth is common, red for men, black for women. Family relations is fairly tightened, the oldest is the head of each family, who have a major role in regulating the relationship between their members.
People in the same family are not allowed to got married. Boys and girls loving each other are allowed to go together; the son can sleep with his lovers in her house. There is a ritual of two time wedding, in the first time, men take his wife to his family, in the second time, a year later, and groom’s family delivers wedding money for bride’s family. When a person dies, the community organizes to sing without crying. After burying, family having the dead will pour the water to end the kitchen fire, bringing out all the charcoal and then burn the stove. There is no ritual of disinterring and grave caring. Mourning is implemented by the way that sons bind less hair on top of his head; daughters remove her bracelets, necklaces. Children worship their died parents and ancestor from their grandparent upward taken over by head of the family. Village worshipping ceremony is the most important ritual to pray for all people ca avoid sickness, disease and pigs and chickens are not captured by animals in wildlife in the year.
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