Friday, April 15, 2011

Hà Nhì ethnic minority group in Lao Chải

Black Hà Nhì (they dress in black) people in Lao Chải village, Bát Xát district, about 70km from Lào Cai city. View from air, Lao Chải lies in between mountains and grass hills, with houses that look like colossal mushrooms on all sides, at 2,660m above the sea-level.

Photo: Như Văn
Black Hà Nhì is the smallest population in Việt Nam and they live in such harsh natural conditions that there’s only cold weather and covered by dews all-year-round. Of these, Ý Tý is the village with almost population with houses built in special architecture. All the houses are alike in construction, home decorations and “tường trình” is their identity, normally with 2 rounds, the inside and the outside. The walls are 40 - 45cm thick and  4,5 – 5m high, in between there are small stones. Each house is 65 – 80m2 large, 4 roofed and covered with dry grass, without veranda. There is a main door and two side doors, inside wall there are also 3 doors and behind these doors are the kitchen, then bedrooms of the family members.

Besides house-style, traditional costumes help the ethnologists to tell the difference between Hà Nhì Đen and Hà Nhì Trắng (black and white here means they dress black and white). Black Hà Nhì makes dress in blacks, with a button on the chest while females’ costumes have round collar, the black of the shirts are made in triangles, the hats are decorated with coins or cotton-balls in colours both to beautify and to keep away evils. Black Hà Nhì females always have a bamboo-basket at their backs to carry wood or vegetables. During the meals, food are put on a tray “Hà Chì”, a traditional one made of  bamboo or rattan, women take their meals after men. Visitors to the village are able to enjoy the traditional musics of boys and girls  playing the game “hire and seek in a blanket” and exchange songs overnight even after the festival, the boy can bring the girl they played with to their home and marry her.

Hà Nhì ethnic people have many holidays in a year: New-year days, children’s holiday, moon holidays, khù lê khê or Ga Ga holidays... and the most important one is in lunar November. Black Hà Nhì people consider forest to be their mother who breed and feed them and every year, in March they worship the forest.

Don’t forget to visit Lao Chải village to discover and understand more the habit and customs of Black Hà Nhì people.      

                                                                          KIM LIÊN
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