Name of Ethnic Group: Lao (Lao
Boc and Lao Noi).
Population: About 9,600
in Dien Bien and Phong Tho Districts of Lai Chau Province, Song Ma District
of Son La Province, and Than Uyen District of Lao Cai Province.
Customs and Habits: The Lao
worship their ancestors and are influenced by Buddhism. The Lao often
take the family names of Lo, Luong, or Vi. Children take the family
name of their father. When a person dies, a funeral ceremony and burial
is carefully organized. Cremation occurs only if the deceased is the
chief of a "muong" or a "ban" (village).
Culture: The Lao
language belongs to the Tay-Thai Group. The "mo lam" (sorcerers)
of Lao culture are very good at writing and narrating ancient tales
and folksongs. Lao folklore and its legacy is heavily influenced by
Thai culture. The "lam vong" (Lao Folk Dance) are always performed
during festivals and ceremonies.
Costumes: Women wear
black skirts that are knotted at the front and come up to their chests.
The hems are usually decorated with two bands of embroidered motifs
in different colors.Lao men used to have a Han script and an animal
tattooed on their wrist and thighs.
Economy: The Lao primarily grow rice
in submerged fields using advanced techniques such as ploughing, harrowing,
and irrigating. Additional family income is generated through weaving,
blacksmithing, pottery, and silver production.