La Hu ethnic group
Name of ethnic group: La Hu (Xa La Vang, Co Rung, Khu Sung, and Kha Quy).
Population: 6,874 people (Year 1999).
Locality: Muong Te District of Lai Chau Province.
Customs and habits|
La Hu live in villages built on mountain slopes. These houses are level
with the ground and divided by bamboo partitions. The altar for the
ancestors and the kitchen are always placed at the bay of the house,
which is used for the family sleeping quarters. The right of inheritance
is only reserved for sons. Young men and women are free to choose their
partners. After the wedding, the groom has to live with his wife's
family for several years, but then takes his wife to his family house.
Hu women usually give birth in their bedroom. Three days later, the
baby is given its name. If an unexpected guest comes during this time,
he or she is given the honour of naming the newborn. The worship of the
ancestors is reserved for the dead parents. Every year the La Hu hold
ceremonies to worship the spirits of the earth and to pray for peace.
They conjure up the souls of the corn and the rice spirits after the
sowing and harvesting duties have been completed.
Hu language belongs to the Tibeto-Burman Group. There are a dozen
"khen" (pan-pipe) dances in La Hu culture. The songs are sung in the Ha
Nhi language, but the La Hu have kept their own rhythms. The La Hu have a
rich heritage of ancient tales, and they even maintain their own
calendar in which the days are defined corresponding to twelve animals,
including the tiger, rabbit, dragon, mouse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog,
pig, squirrel, snake and buffalo.
wear trousers and a long-lap shirt that falls to their ankles. They
also wear a short vest during festive days. The collar, chest stripes,
and sleeves are either embroidered or sewn with colourful pieces of
cloth, silver, tin coins, or red fringes.
La Hu live on slash-and-burn cultivation and hunting. La Hu men are
very skilled at blacksmithing and making rattan chairs, trays, mats.