Pa Then ethnic group
Name of ethnic group: Pa Then (Pa Hung and Tong).
Population: 5,569 people (Year 1999).
Locality: Concentrated in communes of Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang provinces.
Customs and habits|
Then houses are built either on stilts, level with the ground, or half
on stilts and half on the earth. Marriage is strictly forbidden within
the same lineage. According to customs, after marriage the husband lives
with his wife's family for a certain amount of time. If the wife has no
brothers, the husband will live with his wife's family forever, and he
has to worship the spirits of his wife's family. Half of the children
take the family name of their father, and the rest takes the family name
of their mother. The Pa Then worship their ancestors at home. They
worship the spirits of the soil and the new rice crop, pray for the
rain, and worship the souls of the dead.
Pa Then language belongs to the Mong-Dao Group. The Pa Then have
managed to preserve a rich heritage of folk culture through legends,
folk songs, lullabies, and dances. They also have a lot of musical
instruments such as panpipes, string instruments called the "tay nhay",
and bamboo flutes.
Pa Then costumes look very colourful. Men wear shirts, long indigo
trousers, and cover themselves with a long scarf. Women wear long
skirts, a bra and a shirt. They like to wear their hair wound up in a
turban which is trimmed with colourful motifs.
The Pa Then live mainly on slash-and-burn cultivation. Rice and corn are their food staple.