The Thai ethnic group is the second-largest ethnic minority in Vietnam with approximately 1.5 million Vietnamese people ranking only after the Kinh and Tay ethnic group. They habit mainly in Northwest Vietnam such as Son La, Mai Chau, Dien Bien, Lao Cai, and Lai Chau. The Thai ethnic group is also called Tay Thanh, Man Thanh, Tay Do, Tho, Hang Tong, Tay Dam, Tay Khao, Nhai, or Hang Tong. They are divided into 3 important groups: the White Thai, the Black Thai, and the Red Thai. The family first names of the Thai ethnic group are Bac, Be, Bun, Ca (Ha, Kha, Mao, Sa), Cam, Chau. Chieu, Deo, Dieu, Ha, Hoang, Kham Leo, Leo, Lem, Ly, Lo, Loc, Lu, Luong, Manh, Me, Nam, Nong, Ngan, Nguu, Nho, Nhat, Panh, Pha, Phia, Quang, Sam, Ta, Tay, Tao, Toong, Lang, Vi, Xa, and Xin.
Language of Thai People
Because Thai people belong to the Tay – Thai group, the Thai people speak the language of the Tai-Kadai language family. Thai ethnic people also have their own Sanskrit-style writing system, widely used in many written works on history, traditions, customary laws, and literature. The language of the Thai people is taught orally.
The Lifestyle of Thai People
They live in wooden stilt houses, cultivate sticky rice and other crops, and breed cattle and poultry. The Black Thai build their tortoise carapace – shaped house called “tup cong” in the Thai language. Each stilt house is decorated by the “khau cut” at each ridge including two wood sticks connected to be an X-shape and fixed on both ends of the roof.
Costume of Thai People
Cotton and dye plants are used to weave clothes. The most famous product of the Thai ethnic group is brocade fabric. It is designed with unique patterns, beautiful colors, and good material. The Thai women wear a close-fitting blouse, a black long skirt, a brocade headscarf called “Khan pieu” and a green belt. The Black Thai women wear a high collared, black blouse while the White Thai women wear a heart-shaped, white blouse. They wear silver necklaces and bracelets, silver or gold earrings. The Thai men dressed in blue or black indigo or brocade shirts, long trousers with a belt but they recently wear the King’s clothing style.
The Unique Cultures & Customs of Thai People
The Thai have a big treasure of legends, myths, and poems. The Thai love to sing in particular “khap tay” – a kind of expressively reading poems or singing based on the poems with dances and musical instruments. Some folk dances are Xoe, Sap, and Quạt. Han Khuong and Nem are two special folk games at the festival. Some traditional foods any visitors should not miss whilst discover the Thai’s culture and life are Xoi Nep, Com Lam, grilled fish, Nam pia, and Mong-pe wine.
The Thai people worship their ancestor and natural Gods because their life depends on agricultural cultivation. They have customs of taking water on the Eve of the New Year and festivals to pray for a rich harvest. They also pay a lot of attention to the funeral. Their concept of death is that their soul still continues to “live” on another side so the funeral aims to see them off to the “muong troi”. In marriage, a husband has to stay in his wife’s family until they have a child that they can leave to the man’s home. There are different customs in each Thai family, for example, in Lo family, they do not eat Tang Lo birds, or Quang family avoids everything involving the tiger.
Festivals of Thai People
The Thai people celebrate the New Year or called Tet holiday according to the Vietnamese lunar calendar, and the Black Thai people worship their ancestor on the 7th and 8th month of the calendar. Besides, villagers also worship the gods of the land, mountain, water, and the soul of the central post of the village.