Name of Ethnic Group: Muong (Moi,
Mual, Moi, Moi Bi, Au Ta and Ao Ta).
Population: More than
Locality: The largest
population is concentrated in Hoa Binh Province and the mountainous
districts of Thanh Hoa Province.
Customs and Habits: In former
days, the "lang dao" system characterized Muong society. The
"lang dao" ruled the Muong regions. A head of a "muong"
was a "lang cun", "lang xom", or "dao xom".
Muong marriage customs are similar to the Kinh. When a woman is
giving birth to a child, her family surrounds the main ladder to the
house with a bamboo fence. The child will be given a name when it is
one year old. The Muong hold funerals with strict rules. Muong practice
a polytheistic religion and ancestor worship.
Culture: The Muong language belongs
to the Viet-Muong group. The popular literature and arts of the Moung
are rich and include long poems, "mo" (ceremonial songs),
folksongs, dialogue duets, proverbs, lullabies, and children's songs.
The gong is a favorite musical instrument of the Muong, as are the two
stringed violin, flutes, drums and pan pipes.
The Muong hold many ceremonies year round such as the Going to
the Fields Ceremony ("Khuong Mua"), Praying for Rain Ceremony
(during the fourth lunar month), Washing Rice Leaves Ceremony (during
the seventh and eighth lunar months), and the New Rice Ritual.
Costumes: Men dress
in indigo pajamas. Women wear white rectangular scarves, bras, long
skirts, and short vests that are open at the front (or at the shoulders)
without buttons. The skirt is complemented by a very large silk belt
embroidered with various motifs such as flowers, figures, dragons, phoenixes,
deer, and birds.
Economy: The Muong have practiced
farming for a long time. Wet rice is their main food staple. Other family
income is generated through the exploitation of forest products including
mushrooms, dried fungus, ammonium, and sticklac. Muong handicrafts include
weaving, basketry, and silk spinning. Muong women are known to be very
skilled at loom weaving.