From a long time ago, it was said that Lahu people are derived from Tibet, China, then they immigrated to near countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. In Vietnam, Lahu is one of 54 Vietnamese Ethnics and belongs to Sino-Tibetan cultural language, just like Hani ethnic. According to statistic in 2009, there were 9,651 Lahu people in total of about 86 million Vietnamese people. Based on the words of some Lahu elders, Lahu’s ancestor was the gibbon. Through the adjustment with natural living, the gibbon has evolved gradually to human.
Living place and career
Lahu people mostly live in Lai Chau province, their majority is in Pa U, Pe Ve Su and Ka Lang wards, Muong Te district. These people lived mainly on shifting cultivation with high rotation rate. Recently, they have shifted to rice cultivation in terraces, like other Vietnamese people. Besides, Lahu people are famous for needlework (tray, rattan) and forging. In addition, hunting, fishing and gathering also play an important role on their economic life.
Nowadays, these people majorly live in ground floor; kitchen, altar and bed are always arranged in the same room. About marriage custom, there are many steps of wedding ceremonies. Specially, squirrel meat is an obligatory possesty that the groom has to bring to bride’s family. After the wedding, the bride lives in her husband’s house. Regarding funeral custom, when a person dies, people will inform to relatives and neighbors by shooting. People do not worship in the death anniversary, they worship in other days such as Tet holiday (in July annually), wedding ceremonies, or when farmers finish upland rice sowing. Moreover, the only possesty Lahu people use to worship the ancestors is rice wrapped in leaves.
Elder: người lớn tuổi
Gibbon: con vượn
Needle work: công việc may vá
Wedding ceremony: lễ cưới, lễ thành hôn
Funeral: đám ma