Ha Giang minority ethnics: H'Mong and Lo Lo ethnic group
2020-04-22 23:57:48 by Admin
More and more tourists are coming to Ha Giang. They come to Ha Giang not only because of the beauty of Ma Pi Leng pass, majestic mountains but also to Ha Giang to discover the minority ethnics and their life. Especially, they want to see the local market. Ha Giang has 22 distinct ethnic groups in the province, with the H’mong being the largest as they make up 32% of the total population. The Tay comes in second with 25%, and the Kinh (Vietnamese), Nung and Dao all hovering around 10%. The remaining 15% or so of the population is divided among the remaining 11 minorities such as the medium-sized Giay, La Chi and Hoa as well as smaller and more threatened groups like the Lo Lo, Phu La and Pu Peo. In this article we will shed particular light on the Hmong, being the largest ethnic group, as well as the Lo Lo, who only makes up a small portion of the population in the province, but together with ones in neighboring Cao Bang and Lao Cai represent the entirety that remains of their culture within Vietnam. For the local ethnic markets, you can read at Ethnic Markets – A Cultural Beauty of Ha Giang.
The Hmong is the largest ethnic group in Ha Giang and the seventh-largest in Vietnam as a whole. With such a large population, their economic activity varies but generally relies on shifting and sedentary cultivation for agriculture, as well as terraced fields growing corn, wheat, and barley. Other professions include flax and opium (formerly) cultivation, weaving, and fruit orchards producing apples, pears, peaches, and plums. Hmong livestock usually consists of cattle, pigs, chickens, and horses with the horses, in particular, holding a special place within Hmong culture and family life.
The Hmong can be further subdivided into several subgroups, all identified by the style of their traditional clothing with names like Flower Hmong, Black Hmong, Green Hmong, etc.
Families and ancestry form an important pillar of Hmong life, with great importance and emphasis placed on respecting your elders and ancestors. Each family will have worship practices unique to them, reflected in specific ghosts or spirits that inhabit their homes.
Hmong marriages can be arranged but it's not popular, and most couples choose themselves who they wish to marry. Courting is initiated by the boy, who must present his chosen partner with a gift. If this gift is accepted, the boy will attempt to “kidnap” the girl in the following days, taking her away from three days while informing her family what is going on. While this may seem strange, this kidnapping is an entirely symbolic ritual, and after three days the couple (if they both still wish to marry) will return to the girl’s family home and live there until the wedding is held.
Lo Lo ethnic group
Like the Hmong ethnic group, the Lo Lo can be further subdivided into several subgroups, all identified by the style of their traditional clothing with names like Flower Lo Lo, Black Lo Lo, Green Lo Lo, etc.
The Lo Lo ethnic group reside in the districts of Dong Van and Meo Vac are flower Lo Lo. They are a subgroup of the Yi People who reside primarily in China, numbering roughly 2 million there. The name Lo Lo comes from their worship of the tiger, with Lo meaning “tiger” in their dialect. Today only about 1400 Lo Lo remain in Ha Giang, with an additional 2000 or so in neighboring Lao Cai and Cao Bang combined.
They make their living primarily through agriculture and the villages are located right on the mountain slopes, usually near a source of water. Each village consists of 25 to 35 houses built either on stilts, on the ground or through a combination of both styles.
Traditional clothing for women is comprised of a shirt with a round neck and a rip down the chest, with some subgroups wearing pullovers with a square neck and pants with long legs, while others wrap themselves in short skirts and cover their legs with a type of boot known as “xa cap”. Colors and patterns printed with wax adorn the clothing of both men and women.
A Lo Lo wedding is usually extravagant and thus represents an important economic calculation for the families involved. Once a couple has married, they live with the family of the husband in their home.
In terms of art, the Lo Lo is known far and wide for their use of the copper drum, their traditional instrument, during weddings and funerals, which is then subsequently buried in a safe location until its next use to prevent degradation.
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