Lolo is one of the ethnic groups with the fewest people in Vietnam with many generations settling and living in Dong Van stone plateau, Ha Giang province. Over many years, the lives of Lolo ethnic people become better and better with sensible policies of the Government but they still preserve and transmit own unique culture.
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The ethnic minority in Then Pa field
Then Pa field which is the only one in Dong Van stone plateau is as peaceful and smooth as many others in the northern plain. Around the field is the higher mountains. On the top of Dragon Mountain, there is the National flag of Vietnam, looking to the other side of China. Then Pa is located among stone mountains but the Lolo ethnic group still lives peacefully in the dusk smoke rising from their houses in every afternoon.
Lolo ethnic village has seventy households living by slash and cultivation. The unique architecture in each house is that the wall is made from rammed clay, not plastered. Several wealthy households make the roof in tiles or cement. Like other ethnic groups in stone plateau, barrier around the house is aligned with rocks to prevent the cold climate and wild animals. It is very stable and could not be shoved.
Their house has two doors, one door is only opened in the morning and then closed; the other is used through every day with main activities. On each door, there is the red Charm for exorcism. In the house, there has two floors, the downstairs is used for daily activities of Lolo people; the upstairs is used to dry corn and rice. Here, one indication of full life is two large pans in the kitchen, a pan for cooking mash; the other for cooking meals.
Traditional culture of Lolo ethnic people
In the Lolo village, there have two bronze drums which are etransmitted from their ancestors. Previously, a drum set had fourteen drums, but now, there are only two. Local people use them in festivals, Tet holidays and funerals. Following the custom of Lolo ethnic group, the main ritual is held on July 15th (Lunar calendar). On that day, these drums will be cleaned and ready to use.
One more culture in Lolo village is the traditional dresses. These dresses are ordered by domestic and foreign tourists with the price of 3 million per a set. Lolo ethnic girls and women are not still “commercialized” as in other mountainous regions which are famous in tourism. Lolo women are very innocent and shameful. When meeting a stranger tourist, they often bow, veil and even run away because of being ashamed.
They do not weave traditional clothes to sell. If someone wants it, they will order. Lolo women are taught how to weave the dress by older people from this generation to another. If they finish the dress fast, they will take three months. If they complete slowly, they will take six months.
Every crossing tourists travel here, they will be welcomed. Local people are very hospitable and friendly. They are always willing to help you. They will receive guests with several cups of corn wine to be warmer. The affection and gratitude of these local people are always in each tourist’s mind and make them come back in the near future.