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Cultural Identity of the Lo Lo Ethnicity in Cao Bang

Cao Bang province in Vietnam is home to many ethnic groups. The main ethnic groups here include the Kinh, Tay, Nung, Dao, H’Mong, and San Chay. Each ethnic group brings its own distinct culture, with unique languages, costumes, and traditional customs.

In particular, Cao Bang province is also home to many ethnic minority communities, including the Lo Lo ethnic group. They live among the mountains and rivers, creating a picture of cultural diversity in this area.

IMG Lo Lo people Cao Bang 9

1. Where are the Lo Lo people living?

The Lo Lo ethnic group resides mainly in Dong Van and Meo Vac districts, Ha Giang province. And Bao Lac district, Cao Bang province.

2. How is the Lo Lo ethnic group unique?

The Lo Lo ethnic group has other names: Mun Di, Di, Man Di, La La, O Man, Lu Loc Man,… There are two main groups, which are: Lo Lo Hoa and Lo Lo Den. The language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language group. The Lo Lo people are always proud that their ancestors came to explore this border land of Vietnam.

In Cao Bang, the Lo Lo people have over 2,373 people, accounting for 52.3% of the total Lo Lo people in Vietnam. The Lo Lo people live quite concentratedly, each village has from 20 to 25 households.

Each village usually has a common sacred forest, which is forbidden to cut down. In the beliefs of the people, it is the residence of the gods, but in reality it is also the place to keep the water source for the whole neighborhood. In Lo Lo hamlet, ancient shade trees are also consciously perceived by the people, contributing to creating a unique landscape for the hamlets of the Lo Lo people.

IMG Lo Lo people Cao Bang 4

3. Architectural style of the Lo Lo ethnic group

The houses of the Lo Lo people are built according to a general rule: with their backs against the mountain, the house’s door overlooks the valley, so it is relatively airy. From the outside, it doesn’t seem much different from H’Mong houses. But when you observe the layout and use of space in the house, you can see the difference.

Directly adjacent to the main door is the ancestral altar, placed close to the wall, made of pieces of wood or bamboo with doll faces painted on them, symbolizing the generations of ancestors being worshiped.

This is probably also a unique feature of this nation. Like the Tay and Nung people in Ba Be National Park, the house architecture of the Lo Lo people is a wooden house or a dirt house with 3 rooms and no wings.

The main room is for worshiping ancestors and receiving guests. The house is made of wood based on wooden trusses with 3 to 5 rows of legs. The trusses are linked together by horizontal and vertical arms; The middle space has a roof called Xa Doc. When building Xa Doc, they often consider auspicious days and months so that the owner’s family will be warm and prosperous.

IMG Lo Lo people Cao Bang 2

4. Legend of the Lo Lo people

According to legend, the Lo Lo people have 7 brothers, 3 of them left Po Ha (China) for Vietnam, then 1 got lost, 2 came to Dong Van (Ha Giang), one stayed, one stayed. to Bao Lac (Cao Bang). They tried their best to clear the land, build families and are the ancestors of today’s Lo Lo people. The story is full of legends but confirms that the Lo Lo people are present in Bao Lac and Dong Van from a very early age. They were the first people to clear wasteland in this area.

5. Traditional costumes of the Lo Lo ethnic group

Lo Lo Den women wear square-neck pullover shirts with bird-shaped patterns around the body. The wide sleeves are assembled with many loops of different colored fabrics. The shirt is combined with a skirt and a long rectangular piece of fabric hanging behind the hips, and leggings wrap the legs. Unlike Black Lo Lo women, Lo Lo Hoa women mainly wear blouses, round necks, chest slits, and patterned pants.

Although there are differences, the women’s costumes of these two groups are very beautiful, meticulously made, decorated with patterns. Such as: Geometric patterns (triangles, squares), and cardamom shapes. , images of birds and animals,… show the level and sophisticated aesthetic taste of the people.

With bold warm colors, the Lo Lo women’s outfit is combined with white, sparkling silver and aluminum jewelry… to add softness and charm.

IMG Lo Lo people Cao Bang 10

6. Cultural identity of the Lo Lo people

6.1 Writing

The writing of the Lo Lo people is hieroglyphs, but is no longer used. The Lo Lo people’s calendar divides the year into 11 months, each month corresponding to the name of an animal. The Lo Lo people have many clans. Family members often live together in a village. The head of the family is Thau Uncle (uncle). He is in charge of worshiping and maintaining the traditions of the family.

6.2 Customs and traditions

Whether before or now, Lo Lo people are still faithful and respect monogamous marriage. Lo Lo young men and women are free to date and get married. If in weddings, to fit the new lifestyle, many rituals have been gradually eliminated, then in funerals of these people, the rituals are still conducted strictly according to customs.

When parents die, it takes at least 1 year for children to get married. People worship their ancestors and grandparents on occasions such as the full moon day of July and New Year’s Eve. The human life cycle from birth, marriage, and funeral all bear the mark of Lo Lo ethnic culture.

6.3 Traditional cultural activities

One of the highlights of the Lo Lo people’s culture is the ancient bronze drum set that these people use in worshiping land gods, ancestors and at funerals. The Lo Lo people consider the bronze drum to be a sacred treasure passed down from their ancestors. Especially a symbol of the vitality of the nation, connecting the mundane with the spiritual.

Not only are they proud to be one of the ethnic groups present early in this land, proud of the ancient bronze drum culture, ancient hieroglyphic writing. But they are also proud of their rich folk culture. enrich themselves through dances, folk songs and fairy tales. Fairy tales have a mythical and mystical look. But have outlined the vivid cosmology and outlook of this nation in the face of natural, social phenomena.

Songs and singing filled with love for people, life, nature… are considered precious gems contributing to the treasure of Vietnamese folk literature.

The traditional cultural values of the Lo Lo people continue to be preserved and promoted until today. If you want to experience the real life and unique culture of the Lo Lo people, please contact Origin Vietnam – a professional operator for cultural tours in Vietnam. We will accompany you on your tour in Cao Bang with interesting discoveries and experiences.

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