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Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh Trail 3:  The population - 2 million natives

described by Khi and Gii


Vietnam: Kinh natives on bike with
                      double basket    Vietnam: Tt New Year with flower
                          stands   Vietnam
                            natives: community house (Rng House) on
                            stilts at the natives of Bana, Xe dang and
                            Giarai
Vietnam: Kinh natives on bike with double basket [3]
- Vietnam: Tt New Year with flower stands [14]
Vietnam natives: community house (Rng House) on stilts at the natives of Bana, Xe dang and Giarai [5]

   Vietnam natives of Gia Ray with
                        bamboo xylophone   Vietnam natives of Gia Ray with weaving    Vietnam has also got a buffalo
                            culture
Vietnam natives of Gia Ray with bamboo xylophone [19] - Vietnam natives of Gia Ray with weaving [20]
- Vietnam has also got a buffalo culture [23]

presented by
Michael Palomino (2013 - with photos from 2023)

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from: The H Ch Minh Trail; Hong Khi and Th Gii Publishers 2008; English translation; first edition 2001; second edition 2008; printed in Vit Nam; VN - TG - 6.149-1
3  The population of [the mountain range of] Trung Son and the characteristics of their culture

[30 ethnic groups in the mountain range of Trung Son]

There are 30 ethnic groups in the Trung Son region from West Ng An to the Mekong Delta in South Vit Nam. Each group has its own explanation of its origin.> (p.27)

[Genesis of Kinh natives with 100 eggs - 50 children to the sea - 50 to the mountain]

The Kinh (the majority group in Vit Nam accounting for 90% of the total population) say that the Vietnamese people originated from the marriage of Lac Long Qun to u Co. The couple gave birth to 100 eggs that hatched into 100 children; 50 of them followed their father to the sea (the low land) and the other 50 followed their mother to the mountain. The Ba Na say: the Kinh people of the plain and the Thuong people of the mountain both stem from the Yang Gi and Yang Bt brothers. (p.27)

Website about Kinh natives in Vietnam - link (English)  

Kinh natives in Vietnam: festival
                          "Hung King" with golden objects   Kinh woman in a traditional ao dai
                          dress   Kinh natives biking with double basket
Kinh natives in Vietnam: festival "Hung King" with golden objects [1] - Kinh woman in a traditional ao dai dress [2] Kinh natives biking with double basket [3]

[Genesis of the Ra D with a cave as origin]

The Ra-D believe that all the ethnic groups came out of a cave and scattered to various places. Many other legends about the origin of the nation start from similar conceptions. All the ethnic groups have the common idea that their presence on this land is in accordance with the "arrangement of Heaven". (p.27)

[No racial conflicts]

Thanks to this conception, unlike a number of other countries in the world, Vit Nam does not suffer from racial conflicts. (p.28)

[Another reason for peace within the native groups in Vietnam is that there were always wars for survival against China and the "Christian" colonialists France and "USA" and the native tribes had enough reasons to help each other so there is always a collaboration and conflicts are automatically left out].

[30 ethnic groups in Vietnam: nomads - villages]

The 30 ethnic groups in Trung Son have different cultural backgrounds. Their ways of living have specific characteristics that contribute to the general culture of Vit Nam.

Almost all the minorities in [the mountain range of] Trung Son lead a nomadic life. Since they are afraid of fertilizing their land with manure, they either quickly impoverish it or believe that their sickness or crop failure is due to the unpropitiousness of the land and therefore are forced to move. Their agricultural technique is still underdeveloped and unsophisticated.

They do, however, have a clear sense of land ownership. The population of each village may cultivate or hunt only within the limits of the village. (p.28)

[Different stilt houses]

They have different ways of building their villages: the architecture of their houses is also different, although all the houses are on stilts.

Vietnam natives: stilt house of
                        the Thai natives   Vietnam natives:
                          community house (Rng House) on stilts at the
                          natives of Bana, Xe dang and Giarai   Vietnam natives: long house on stilts at
                          the Ethnologic Museum of Hanoi
Vietnam natives: stilt house of the Thai natives [4] - Vietnam natives: community house (Rng House) on stilts at the natives of Bana, Xe dang and Giarai [5] -
Vietnam natives: long house on stilts at the Ethnologic Museum of Hanoi [6]

The decoration of the interior is simple but it shows the difference of their conception of life. The kitchen represents the wealth and social position of the house, as the gathering place of the family it is the most sacred place. Around the kitchen, on the walls (mainly made of wood or plaited bamboo, are displayed in rows vases, dodders owner, and brass posts. These objects are in daily use and become heirlooms handed down from generation to generation. They decorate the home and make it cozier and prettier. They also reflect the wealth and (p.28) comfortable living conditions of the family. On the walls and columns of the house, some ethnic groups often hang up their hunting trophies: horns, skin, and heads of wild animals. (p.29)

[The Rng House as a central house]

The "Rng" House or the Village House, a symbol of the X Dang, Ba Na, ha Lang and Gia Rai ethnic groups, is a building taller and larger than any ordinary residential house. It stands in the center of the village and serves as the meeting place for all the villagers. (p.29)

[Houses on the ground without stilts]

The Mo Nng, the Ma, the Sting have their houses built on the ground. Yet, all the ethnic groups of [the mountain range of] Trung Son, whether they live in houses on stilts or on the ground, decorate the interior of their dwellings in a way that shows their simple and in some respect, still primitive life and their constant remembrance of their origin. They only want to have sufficient food, salt, and self-made cloth for their self-tailored garments. Men wear loin cloths, women wear "yng" (skirts). (p.29)

Vietnam natives of Mo Nong   Vietnam women natives of Mo Nong   Mo Nong natives: house on stilts with two
                          staires, one for men and one for women
Vietnam natives of Mo Nong [7] - Vietnam women natives of Mo Nong [8] -
Mo Nong natives: house on stilts with two staires, one for men and one for women [9]


[Farming and handicrafts]

Most of the Trung Son people [of the mountain range] grow rice on paddies or swiddens (slash-and-burn farming). They also practice sidelines such as iron forging, bamboo plaiting, basketry, and wearing. They prefer bartering their products for daily necessities rather than selling them. They still keep many strange customs and habits. For instance, women must give birth outdoors and the people also hang a branch of leaves up at the door when they leave their house in order to prevent intruders.

Vietnam Truong Son Mountain Range:
                        rice terrace   Vietnam Truong Son
                          Mouintains: native women harvesting rice
Vietnam Truong Son Mountain Range: rice terrace [11] - Vietnam Truong Son Mouintains: native women harvesting rice [12]


However, these customs are gradually fading away. At harvest time, sickles are no longer used, and (p.29) rice ears are pulled out by hand, though some places this work is done by using two pieces of bamboo. It is believed that cutting by sickle will harm the rice plant and anger the rice genie who will inflict punishment; and the next crop will be a failure. (p.30)

[30 ethnic groups = 2 million]

Nearly two million people belonging to the 30 ethnic groups [some authors indicate more than 50 ethnic groups] in Trung Son [Mountain Range] live intermingled or in separate concentrations of members of the same group.
-- In Ngh An, H Tinh and Quang Binh there live the H'r and Gray people;
-- in Kontum and Binh Dinh, the Ba Na, X Dang, and Chm people;
-- in Dc Lc and Bun Ma Thut, the Mo Nng and the -d people;
-- in Lm  Dng the Ro-glai, and the Chu-ru and the Ma people;
-- in Ty Ninh, the Sting people;
-- in Dng Nai, the Chro and the Gil people. (p.30)

Vietnam: map with the natives
Vietnam: map with the natives [10]

[New Year "Tt" celebrated by 30 ethnic groups together]

Regarding the celebration of new Year's Day (Tt), the Kinh and the Mung, a minority living in Ha Bnh, Ngh An and Thanh Ha (North and Central Vit Nam), set great store at the end of the 12th month each year. The Thi in North-West Vit Nam, concentrated in Lai Chu and Son La Province, prolong the celebration till the middle of the first lunar month. The Ty, the Mn and the Nng in Cao Bng, Lang Son, H Giang, Thi Nguyn Provinces, North Vit Nam, celebrate their Spring festivities on the same day as the Tt of the Kinh and Mung. Further South, along [the mountain range of] Trung Son, the festivities of the ethnic minorities fall on different occasions. (p.30)

Vietnam: Tt New Years Festival   Vietnam: Tt New Years
                          Festival with flower stands
Vietnam: Tt New Years Festival [13] - Vietnam: Tt New Years Festival with flower stands [14]


[Chm people with Brahmanism and Islam]

The Chm living on the edge of Trun Son are divided into two religious sects, Brahmanism and Islam. Brahmans celebrate their New Year's Day (p.30) from the 1st to the 15th days of the 10th lunar month.

Vietnam and Cambodia: the Chm
                        natives, map   Chm natives
                          in Vietnam: Muslim wedding in the region of
                          Chau Doc
Vietnam and Cambodia: the Chm natives, map [15] - Chm natives in Vietnam: Muslim wedding in the region of Chau Doc [16]

On this occasion, marquees are set up before each house beautifully ornamented in gaudy colors. Three cultural places are respectively reserved for relatives on the patetives [?] by marriage. The offerings include both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The head of the house must be the eldest son. If he is not available, a "Pogru" (officiant) or a "Kaing" (sorcerer) must be invited to direct the ceremony. After the ceremony, the host offers some food (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) to persons living alone and to the poor. After, the host invites the villagers to the feast and, to those who come to congratulate, he must offer some food by way of thanks. (p.31)

[Islamic New Year]

The Islamic Cham people celebrate their festivities more animatedly in the fourth lunar month. Three days before the celebration, all families prepare offerings for the visit to the ancestors' graves. The graves are weeded and the officiating priest says prayers and washes the two stone slabs at the end of the grave with lemon water. Then the visitors kowtow [honorous greeting] and return home.

On the 30th of the third lunar month, preparations are made for the worshiping of ancestors; at nightfall, drums are beaten to call the villagers to the pagoda for welcoming the new year. During the ceremony, all the worshipers pray to Allah for the repose of the soul of the dead in the coming year, recite the "Koran" and listen to preaching. After the preaching, it is dawn; the sun begins to rise. Everybody goes to the river to bathe before returning home. The festivities last almost the whole of the fourth month. (p.31)

[Polytheism groups with ceremonies]

Other ethnic groups in [the mountain range of] Trung Son follow polytheism. Ceremonies take place all year round. However, over the first and second lunar months, the most important and the solemnest ones take place: ceremonies for a new-harvest and thanksgiving (to ancestors). The following are the ceremonies or festivals taking place at the beginning of the year:

-- The Adza ceremony of the Paco and the Co-tu.

-- The rice-harvest ceremony of the Cua and the H'r.

-- The ceremony of piercing the buffalo and erecting the post of the Bo-ram.

-- The D ceremony on New Year' Day of the Ba Na Krem.

-- The ceremony at the beginning of the year of the Cham Hroi.

-- The water-drop ceremony of the X Dang, Die, Ha Lang.

-- The-end-of-the-season and the Soil Yang Chorn festivals of the d.

-- The Ma La ceremony of the Sting. (p.32)

Vietnam, natives of the
                        Truong Son Mountain Range, collective photo of
                        DuckDuckGo on May 25, 2023
Vietnam, natives of the Truong Son Mountain Range, collective photo of DuckDuckGo on May 25, 2023 [17]


[Traveling times December until March for festivities]

The tourist may make his tour from early December (lunar calendar) of the previous year to the end of March (lunar calendar) of the following year to attend the festivities of the Trung Son peoples, which are full of fun (garments, food, dances, and musical instruments like gongs, To-rung, clng put, flutes, and drums). (p.32)

The local culture is characterized by its polytheism. Superstitions still play an important part in the people's mind and their daily lives and entertainment. (p.33)

[New Rice festivities]

If the tourist participates in the new-rice festivities of the Co-ho and Gia Rai, he will see some fine features of Vietnamese traditional culture.

Vietnam
                        natives of Gia Rai   Vietnam natives of Gia
                          Ray, men with bamboo xylophone   Gia
                          Ray natives with weaving
Vietnam natives of Gia Rai [18] - Vietnam natives of Gia Ray, men with bamboo xylophone [19] - Gia Ray natives with weaving [20]

The harvest is over. All families prepare for the new-rice celebrations. The date is decided by the head of the family who invites his close and distant relatives and co-villagers  to come and share the jubilee with his family. The finest mats are spread around the granary and a jug of good home-made alcohol and all the necessary utensils are brought in. The participants, in their best clothes, gather around the jug attentively to watch the host open the lid of the jug in a solemn manner and put with loving care fine straws into it. In the meantime, sturdy men are busy with a fat pig, cutting it into portions and gathering the entrails in a basin to be used as votive offerings to genies. (p.33)

The ceremony in honor of genies and in celebration of the good new harvest begins: the host comes to the alcohol jug, looks up into the sky and says prayers. Then he distributes the straws to the guests after taking the first sip. Together with the principal members of his family (his wife, elder sons and daughters, grandparents, uncles and aunts), he will climb up the granary, cut the neck of a cock and let the blood drop on the seeds, according to custom. At the end of the ritual, everybody sits around the kitchen fire, drinking (p.33) alcohol, eating food and singing songs. The festivity lasts until noon of the next day, when all return to their homes. The hosts sleep to save their strength for the celebrations of other families that happen the next few days. (p.34)

Vietnam rice cooking competition   Vietnam: natives
                          celebrating a rice festival dancing for rice
                          mother or the mountain god
Vietnam rice cooking competition [21] -
Vietnam: natives celebrating a rice festival dancing for rice mother or the mountain god [22]

[Ox or buffalo barbecue]

After the harvest, each family contributes some money or grains to the village chief or patriarch to buy a buffalo or an ox. The patriarch  has a festival pole set up, a ritual stage arranged and a post planted for the immolation of the buffalo on the ground before the Rng House [community center]. When the preparations are complete, the date of the grand ceremony is fixed. (p.34)

Vietnam has also got a buffalo culture
Vietnam has also got a buffalo culture [23]

On that day, the villagers in their best clothes gather in front of the Rng House. The buffalo to be sacrificed to the genies is firmly tied to the post. The sorcerer is invited to occupy the place of honor before the stage. The buffalo immolation ceremony begins. (p.34)

After the killing of the buffalo, the villagers go and cook rice at their home, while a number of them remain to arrange the banquet at the Rng House. (p.34)

At noon, all the inhabitants get together again. The village patriarch brings the sorcerer and guests. Then he distributes rations to everyone and all the village eats together. Three hours later, the revelry begins. In turn, everyone advances in order of seniority to the alcohol jug, which the sorcerer has offered to the genies while praying. They sip as a mere formality but bring alcohol from their homes to drink with the villagers until intoxicated. The (p.34) orchestra of gongs, drums, flutes, clongput plays with great enthusiasm for all to dance. The festivity lasts until late at night. The next morning, the ceremony of eating the sacrificed buffalo head takes place. It is reserved for those persons who had not been able to attend the main ceremony. After the ceremony is a week of abstinence during which time no villagers are allowed to leave and no strangers can enter the village. (p.35)

[Thanksgiving procession "Unam Lui Masa"]

To understand the culture of the Trung Son people [in the mountain range of Vietnam], tourists should also attend the ceremony of thanksgiving (to ancestors) celebrated by the -d. It is called the Unam Lui Masa ceremony organized once a year in turn by families who have their relatives buried in the village cemetery. The family that buried their dead first in the cemetery hosts the ceremony first. The date of the ceremony, generally in the second or the third lunar month, is told to all the families who have their dead buried in the cemetery. (p.35)

Vietnam: Ede natives: a shaman
                        prepared a ritual   Vietnam: Ede natives, woimen in black   Vietnam Ede natives: making a walk
Vietnam: Ede natives: a shaman prepared a ritual [24] - Vietnam: Ede natives, woimen in black [25] - Vietnam Ede natives: making a walk [26]


The date of the ceremony, generally in the second or the third lunar month, is told to all the families who have their dead buried in the cemetery. The votive objects are the same as for other ceremonies: the pole, the worshiping stage, the buffalo or ox. The difference is that this ceremony is held at the cemetery. The night before the ceremony, the families go to the cemetery, kowtow [honorous greeting] to the graves of their relatives, and cry about the dead. The sorcerer is invited to carry out the rituals. Prayers are said to Heaven and Earth; the buffalo piercing, dividing of the meat, alcohol drinking, dancing and singing will take place like at the New year's Eve festival. (p.35)

The thanksgiving ceremony lasts until 8-9 pm the same day. Richer families may prolong the revelry until the next day. (p.36)

[Ceremony for the ancestors]

The ceremony to thank (p.35) the ancestors or to give up caring for the graves reflects the simple and carefree way of life of the Ty Nguyn people, who look after the graves for a certain time and then organize a ceremony to say farewell and to give freedom to the soul of the dead. The living will no longer worry about the dead and can devote all their time to themselves. The Ty Nguyn people's conception of life and death is practical and not rigid. (p.36)

Vietnam Tay Nguyen natives,a
                          circle dance   
Vietnam Tay Nguyen natives,a circle dance [27]

[General sense]

The new harvest, New Year's eve, and Thanksgiving festivals of the Ty Ngun people show their confidence in life and their conception of life, their sense of community, equality, democracy and mutual affection. They contribute to the essence of Vietnamese culture. (p.36)

The Trung Son people (Gia Rai, -d) have amassed a treasury of folklore to explain the origin of man, Heaven, Earth, and different genies. Many love ballads such as the "Cho Rao Bird", "Xinh Nh
, and "Dam San" are highly valued. (p.36)


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Photo sources
[1] Vietnam: Kinh natives: festival with golden objects: https://www.vietvisiontravel.com/post/the-kinh/
[2] Kinh woman in a ao dai dress: https://www.vietvisiontravel.com/post/the-kinh/
[3] Kinh natives on bike with a double basket: http://www.vietvisiontravel.com/post/the-kinh/
[4]
Vietnam natives: stilt house of the Thai natives: http://www.vietnamvisa-easy.com/blog/vietnamese-traditional-houses/
[5] Vietnam natives: community house (Rng House) on stilts at the natives of Bana, Xe dang and Giarai:
http://www.vietnamvisa-easy.com/blog/vietnamese-traditional-houses/
[6] Vietnam natives: long house on stilts, Ethnological Museum of Hanoi: http://www.vietnamvisa-easy.com/blog/vietnamese-traditional-houses/
[7] Vietnam natives of Mo Nong: http://vietnameasyrider.com/mnong-ethnic-people-in-vietnam-1
[8] Vietnam natives of Mo Nong: http://vietnameasyrider.com/mnong-ethnic-people-in-vietnam-1
[9] Vietnam natives of Mo Nong: stilt house with two stairs one for men and one for women:
[10] Vietnam: map with the natives: https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/9iqn64/ethnic_map_of_vietnam/
big map: https://i.imgur.com/fwTqVHF.jpg

[11] Vietnam Truong Son Mountain Range: rice terraces: https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/9af5xb/vietnamese_terraced_rice_paddy/
[12] Vietnam Truong Son Mountain Range: natives harvesting rice: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1026149
[13] Vietnam: Tt New Years Festival: https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-tet-1458357
[14] Vietnam: Tt New Years Festival with flower stands: https://jptraveltime.com/tet-festival-of-the-spring/
[15] Chm natives in Vietnam and Cambodia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chams
Foto: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chams#/media/File:Cham_People_in_Vietnam_and_Cambodia.jpg
[16] Chm natives in Vietnam: Muslim wedding in Chau Doc region:
https://mvslim.com/isolated-muslim-communities-know-cham-muslims-vietnam-simone-donvang/a-cham-muslim-wedding-in-a-small-village-near-chau-doc-vietnam-2/
[17] Vietnam natives in the Truong Son Mountain Range, collectgive photo:
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Paco+tribe+vietnam&t=h_&iar=images&iax=images&ia=images
[18] Vietnam natives Gia Rai: https://bonvoyagevietnam.com/lethnie-gia-rai/
[19] Vietnam natives Gia Ray, men with bamboo xylophone: https://www.vietvisiontravel.com/post/gia-rai-ethnic-group/
[20] Vietnam natives Gia Ray, women are weaving: https://authentiktravel.es/jarai-gia-rai-respiran-tierras-altas

[21] Vietnam rice cooking competition: https://www.vietvisiontravel.com/post/rice-cooking-competitions-vietnam/
[22] Vietnam rice festival with dance for rice mother or for a mountain god:
https://www.crdvietnam.org/en/bustling-with-new-rice-festival-aza-new-year-in-mu-nu-ta-ra-village/
[23] Vietnam has also a buffalo culture: https://vietnaminsider.vn/things-you-should-know-another-the-buffalo-in-vietnamese-culture/
[24] Vietnam: Ede natives: a shaman preparing a ritual: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/vietnamese-ethnic-groups-culture-day-in-pictures-525084.html
[25] Vietnam: Ede natives: women in black: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/vietnamese-ethnic-groups-culture-day-in-pictures-525084.html
[26] Vietnam: Ede natives making a walk: https://www.vivutravel.com/vietnam-travel-guide/vietnamese-people/the-thai-ethnic-group
[27] Vietnam: Tay Nguyen natives, circle dance: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/403635185332883965/

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