Ethnic minority groups in mountainous area of Northern Vietnam have their own worship faiths so they also have several taboos. If you want to have a journey to these areas, you should learn about sacred customs in order not to annoy indigenous people and create uncomfort for yourself.
Typically when you see a village gate hanging with tied wood knives or swords, chicken wings and heads, you should not continue to come in because in the village, everyone is holding the ritual of dispelling evil spirits. Similarly, annual ceremonies of Tay ethnic group, Thai, Giay, Bo Y… such as worshiping god of the village, dispelling evils are held in February or June, July (lunar calendar). In these ceremonies, local people set a taboo sign to ban strange people to come to the village.
Before visiting a house of any ethnic groups, each tourist should observe carefully. If you see a green twig, a branch of thorns in front of a door or a stair; these are signs of abstinence implying that the family does not want to let guests come in.
In a house of Ha Nhi Den people, there are double-layer doors but guests only are allowed to enter through the first door. If you want to come through the second door, you must ask for the host’s permission. At the most important position, in the middle room, there has an ancestor altar.
In each house of ethnic groups, the door and big pillar are the sacred positions to worship gods. Thus, tourists should not sit at the door or hang hats and lean against the big pillar. In area of Thai, Tay, Kang, La Ha, Phu La people, tourists should not bring green leaves, branches and vegetables at the main door. They also abstain from whistling in the house because it is like a wrong signal of evil and storm.
Kitchen is both cooking place and living room of ethnic community. It is also the sacred place to worship the chef and the god of fire. Therefore, there are several taboos, for instance, tourists are not allowed to set feet or move rocks as tripod if sitting near the kitchen. According to conception of local people, these rocks are the place where is the abode of fire god.
In area of Mong, Dao, Ha Nhi people, when putting firewood into the stove, they do not put the tops first because they consider that the daughter of the host would reverse birth. Or when sitting near the stove, visitors should not turn away and tread into the stove.
The wild beauty of life of ethnic groups, beautiful pictures of life and culture always attract tourists to discover. However, sometimes, we should deeply learn and understand their culture and tradition, especially several taboos so as not to annoy local people.
During the journey to discover the cultural identity of ethnic minority groups, tourists also have a chance to learn more unique taboo. Each ethnic group has their own conception of the spiritual life. This makes the cultural picture of ethnic groups in Vietnam more diversified and profound.