Name of Ethnic Group: San Chay
(Cao Lan, San Chi, Man Cao Lan, and Hon Ban).
Population: More than
in Tuyen Quang, Bac Thai, and Ha Bac Provinces. Communities of San Chay
are also found scattered in Quang Ninh, Yen Bai, Lang Son, and Vinh
Customs and Habits: Ancestral
worship is widely practiced but is influenced by Buddhism, Taoism, and
Confucianism. Houses are usually built level to the ground. The San
Chay house is said to resemble the "Buffalo Genie", the four
pillars of the house symbolize the four legs of the buffalo, the paths
around the house represent the ribs, and the roof represents the backbone.
One of the two corners of the penthouse is usually used as the altar
for the ancestors and is regarded as the holiest section of the house.
The San Chay inhabitants belong to various family lineages, each
lineage having several branches. The father is the head of the family.
After a wedding, the wife lives with her parents and she settles permanently
at the husband's house only after her first childbirth.
Culture: The language of the San Chay
is classified with the Tay-Thai Group. The San Chay have many old tales,
folksongs, proverbs, and sayings. A particularly popular cultural activity
is the "sinh ca", an alternating love song chant. Their musical
instruments include castanets, small copper bells, cymbals, wind instruments,
Costumes: The modern
attire of the San Chay tends to resemble the Kinh or Tay.
Economy: The San Chay
cultivate wet rice and agriculture, which plays an important role in