Tay Ethnic Group

The Tày people speak a language of the Central Tai language group, and live in northern Vietnam. They are sometimes also called Thô, T'o, Tai Tho, Ngan, Phen, Thu Lao, or Pa Di.



Name of ethnic group: Tay (Tho, Ngan, Phen, Thu Lao, and Pa Di)
Population: 1,477,514 people (Year 1999)
Locality: The Tay lives along the valleys and the lower slopes of the mountains in Cao Bang, Lang Son, Bac Kan, and Quang Ninh provinces, and in some regions of Bac Giang and Bac Ninh provinces.
 
Customs and habits: Ancestor worship is a religious rite of the Tay. The altars for the ancestors are placed in a central location in the house. The altar room is such a sacred place that guests is not allowed to sit on the bed in front of the altar. After giving birth, women are also not allowed to sit on the bed in front of the altar.
 
Tay villages are always built at the foot of a mountain and are often named after a mountain, field, or river. Each village contains about 15-20 households.
 
Culture: The Tay language belongs to Tay-Thai Group. There is a rich traditional folklore with all kinds of poems, songs, dances, and music. Tay songs include the "Hat Luon" (a kind of duet between lovers), wedding songs, and lullabies.
 
Costumes: Tay women wear knee-length dresses, which are split at the right side with five buttons along the armpit, and narrow sleeves.
 
Economy: The Tay has developed agricultural practices quite well and are able to cultivate all kinds of plants including rice, maize, and sweet potato.

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