Tet atmosphere of Mong people in Northwest of Vietnam

Lunar New Year is the biggest traditional festival in Vietnam. With 54 ethnic groups living together, each has the custom to welcome New Year and that has contributed to the diverse cultural identity of the Vietnamese people. Today Vietnam culture tours will introduce you about H’Mong celebrate Tet.

Mong people

Mong people

H’Mong people are considered an important member of the ethnic minority community in Vietnam. They mainly live in mountainous areas of some provinces in the North such as Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Lai Chau, Son La, Cao Bang, Nghe An.

Mong has their own calendar and Tet is usually held in late November, early December (lunar calendar). However, these days, most of them have celebrated Lunar New Year – one of the most important Vietnam holidays as Kinh people, except for a small part, such as H’Mong people in Moc Chau still retaining Tet festival based on their own calendar.

As usual, H’Mong people start to prepare for Tet on the 25th – 26th of December. They will seal all the production tools, such as the blast furnace, the corn grinder, and a paper sheet. They also make “Banh Chung” but it is not necessary for their Tet. To them, meat, wine, and corn tortillas must be 3 indispensable items.

H’Mong people do not welcome New Year’s Eve, instead, they will wait for the first crow in the early morning of the 1st lunar day. They worship their ancestors with a live pig and a live rooster. And then they kill these animals, have meals together and wait for the crow. There are many interesting activities held in Tet. However, one cannot fail to be mentioned is throwing “pao”.

Throwing pao

Throwing Pao

Visitors who want to take culture tours in Vietnam to know more about the culture of the S-shaped country should take part in Gau Tao festival, traditionally held by three families having the relationship by blood. This festival is held in the spring for 3 consecutive years – each family will take a turn to plant New Year tree. The homeowners will see the tree and the objects hang from that tree to get the good fortune for the new coming year.

Gau Tao – the traditional ceremony of Mong in Tet holiday

Gau Tao – the traditional ceremony of Mong in Tet holiday

Gau Tao ceremony is taken place on the hill called by the name Hau Tao (Hoi Hill). It is a low hill surrounded by higher hills with a hollow space. Hau Tao hill must turn to the east so that the New Year tree will catch the sunshine.

To H’Mong conception, Gau Tao hill represents the destiny of the landlord. The frontal hollow space stands for the fault, unluck and the higher hills represent the prosperity: children are better than parents with more fortunes.

Gau Tao Festival – the largest festival of Tet holiday in Vietnam of the Hmong in the early days of the year usually lasts for 3 days but the local must prepare particularly from the end of December in the lunar calendar. It clearly demonstrates the cultural characteristics of the Mong on Tet.

Like Kinh people have some taboos that should not do in Tet holiday, and H’mong people also do. To their perception, during the 3 first days of the New Year, H’Mong will avoid eating rice with soup since they believe that the fields will be flooded affecting the harvest. In addition, to the H’Mong, “banh day” – Vietnamese traditional cake is the symbol of the moon, the sun so they will not eat that fried cake on Tet. It is said that people who eat that cake have to face much bad luck, or even worst died of fire.

Apart from the taboos, the H’Mong also have good fortune. For example, during those 3 days, if the homeowner sells something, they will prosper.

Colorful dresses of Mong in Tet

Colorful dresses of Mong in Tet

H’Mong people in Moc Chau also organizes many traditional games. From the 4th day, they begin to hang out for Tet. The most beautiful dresses will be showing up on this occasion. Thus, prominent in the colors apricot blossom, plum blossom and pink of peach blossom flowers is the brilliant color of the dress. The sound of silver flower coins of young girls also makes them happier.

Hope that you will have successful Vietnam culture tours and learn a lot of new things.