06 Dec 2018 ♦

The Dao Hill-Tribe Minority and Unique Cultural Characteristics

August 7 2017, 12 Comments

Vietnam, a country with the unique shape of S, is home to 54 ethnic minority groups. From long times ago in the past until now, all of these groups have shared a happy and peaceful life together. In which, the Dao ethnic group is estimated to have over 750,000 inhabitants. They mainly live in the halfway up the mountains, mostly in mountainous provinces in the North of Vietnam.

In production activities, Dao people usually till the field and plant food crops on the hill. Their main food crops are rice, corn and some kinds of farm produce like gourd, pumpkin, sweet potato, etc. Moreover, planting cotton industry and weaving are also common here. Their favorite color of cloth is dyed with indigo. Most of the hamlets of Dao people have a blacksmith for repairing agricultural implements. Besides, there are also places for making muskets and cast-iron bullets. Silversmith is also a traditional job which conventionally making jewelry.

The costumes of Dao women are really diversified, but typical ones are “áo dài,” brassiere, dress or trouser. They are all extremely colorful. The clothes of Dao women is designed with the length coming to the knees with a V neckline which is decorated with the same patterns on the back of the clothes. According to the conception of Dao people, when you look at the embroidered patterns on the skirt, you can know whether that woman is clever or not. For men, in the past, they left their hair long and gathered into a bun on their scuff of the neck. Another style is to only leave a long top tuff of hair and shave the hair around the head.

Although living in mountainous and secluded areas, the means of transport of Dao ethnic group still have many similarities with other groups in types, how to manipulate and how to use. Conventionally, to transfer items, they use “địu, quẩy tấu” (a kind of basket) or “lù cở” (likes a papoose) which has two handles to carry on the back. They are also used when Dao people go into the wood to collect fruits and agricultural products. In lower areas, they often use carrying poles to carry rice, corn or other things.

Despite living in many different areas and regions, community activities of Dao group are still close. It can be reflected obviously through traditional customs and habits as well as marriage. When choosing a future wife or husband, Dao people only want to marry the one in their group. Worship custom: Dao people attach special importance on worship; therefore, ceremonies relating to worship their ancestors are always remained and celebrated with unique and special rituals.

Maturity ritual: is considered as one of the most special traditional characteristics of Dao ethnic group. Following their conception, maturity ritual is a crucial proceeding of Dao men. This is because if they pass a “cap sac” ritual, they are officially mature men and have enough power to join in community jobs.

Sing Pao’s dung: is one of the valuable features of Dao’s culture. Sing Pao’s dung can express inmost thoughts, feelings, and wishes of the daily life of Dao people. With unique features, the art of Sing Pao’s dung is recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage.