54 ETHNIC GROUPS IN VIETNAM

On the world map, in Southeast Asia, S-shaped Vietnam runs from north to south, borders China in the north, Laos and Cambodia in the west, East Sea in the east and south. Vietnam is not large, but a large population and many ethnic groups. We can say that Vietnam is a multiethnic, multicultural and multilingual country comprising 54 ethnic groups(ethnicities): 01 majority the Viet(Kinh) and 53 minorities.

While the Viet (Kinh) people account for 87% of the whole country’s population and they mostly inhabit in the Red River Delta, the central coastal delta, and the Mekong delta associated with some major countries. About the other 53 ethnic minority groups, they hold the total of more than 8 million people, but know that the figures may vary per year. The rest of 53 are scattered over the mountainous regions (including 2/3 of the country’s territory) ranging from the North to the South. In regards to the ethnic minorities, the most populated ones are Tay, Thai, Hoa, Muong, Khmer, and Nung. The least populated minorities are Roman, Odu, and Brau.

On Vietnam Easy RidersGroup and motorbike tours through Vietnam, we met 50 out of the total Vietnam 54 ethnic groups and hopefully we will meet the last four groups soon.

*** Languages:

The 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam belong to eight language groups of five different inguistic in Southeast Asia.

1. South Asian language, with 2 groups:

- The Vietnamese - Muong group has 4 ethnic groups: Viet, Muong, Tho, Chut.
- The Mon-Khmer language group has 21 ethnic groups: Khơ-me, Ba-na, Cơ-ho, Xơ-đăng, Hrê, Mnông, Xtiêng, Khơ-mú, Bru-Vân Kiều, Cơ-tu, Ta-ôi, Mạ, Gié-Triêng, Co, Chơ-ro, Xinh-mun, Kháng, Mảng, Rơ-măm, Brâu, Ơ-đu.

2 - The Southern Islands have 5 ethnic groups: Gia-rai, Ede, Cham, Raglai, Chu-ru.

Thai-Ka-band, with 2 groups:

- The Tay-Thai group has 8 ethnic groups: Tay, Thai, Nung, San Chay (Cao Lan group), Giay, Lao, Lu, Bo Y.
- The Ka-band group has four ethnic groups: La Chi, La Ha, Co Lao, Pu Pu.
The H'mong - Dao family has 3 ethnic groups: Hmong, Dao, Pa Then.
Sino-Tibetan language, with two groups:
- The Han language group has three ethnic groups: Hoa, San Diu, Ngai, and San Chi (from the San Chay ethnic group).
- The Tibetan-Burmese language group consists of 6 ethnic groups: Ha Nhi, Phu La, La Hu, Lo Lo, Cong, Si La.

Of course, every nation has its language. Vietnamese is commonly used and is the official language in the administrative area of the country. Vietnamese characters are used in the 17th century, using the Latin alphabet.

*** Residence:

The main residence area of the Vietnamese, Cham, Hoa and Khmer ethnic groups are in the delta; while other ethnic groups are found in the mountains and highlands.

In many cases, each ethnic group lives relatively concentrated in some large or small localities. In addition, the inter-ethnic residence in each region is quite common; especially in the northern mountains.

*** Culture:

Not stopping in the 54 ethnic groups with the culture of the 54 ethnic groups, there are many cases where one ethnic group includes local groups, such as: the Jarai people has Hdrung group, Arap, Chor, Tơ-buăn và Mthur groups; Dao ethnic group include Dao Tien, Dao Do (Red Dao), Quan Trang (White trousers), Lo Gang...Among the local groups in ethnic group, there are also some minor differences, often found in language, women's clothing, customs. All created a rich and varied cultural picture in Vietnam. They are expressed in every aspect of life and in all aspects: both material culture and non-material culture.

The same people are agricultural people have tradition of rice farming, but these ethnic groups crop wet rice (such as Viet, Muong, Cham, Thai etc.), other ethnic groups make shifting cultivation (such as Dao, Hmong, Gia rai , Kho-mu, etc.) Some ethnic groups have achieved high levels of cultivation, have experience in intensive farming, irrigation, or exploring the mountains to create a very elaborate terraces. Meanwhile, the majority ofother ethnic groups often maintain a relatively early cultivation method.

The costumes of the ethnic groups are as colorful, with many shapes, types, with different preferences in color, traditional decoration. Example: Same as skirt, but Muong skirts are not like Giarai skirts. The pattern on the skirts or loincloth of the Gia-rai are woven as soon as weaving the fabric; They do not develop embroidery as Dao people, or the techniques using beeswax to create patterns like the Hmong. Dao dresses have scarf, shirt, pant and belt. Muong dresses include scarf, shirt, skirt and belt; Khmer girls wear scarf, shirt and skirt. The same is the ao dai, Vietnamese Ao Dai is not the same as the ao dai of the Chinese.

Religion and Belief: 

Most of the ethnic groups believe that universe is sacred and many ethnic groups worship ancestors. Beside, The major religious traditions in Viet Nam are Buddhism, Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), the Chinese follow Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, the Dao follow the Taoism, the Cham follow the Islam, Khmer people follow the Buddhism. Beside that, some ethnic group follow the Caodaism and the Hoa Hao sect, Protestantism.









 
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