of Ethnic Group: Co Lao (Ke Lao).
Population: About 1,500 people.
Locality: Dong Van and Hoang Su Phi Districts
in Ha Giang province.
Customs and Habits: Each village has about 15 to 20
households. The Co Lao houses are built level with the ground. A patriarchal
system has been adopted. During pregnancy, Co Lao women observe strict
abstinence to facilitate delivery and to give healthy babies. In Dong
Van District, people incinerate the placentas of new born babies. Three
days and nights after their birth, male babies are baptized by their
Culture: The Co Lao language belongs to the Kadai Group.
Ceremonies and festivals are held on the 3rd day of the 3rd lunar month,
the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, the 15th day of the 7th lunar month,
and the 9th day of the 9th lunar month. The Lunar New Year Festival
is the biggest festival of the year.
Costumes: Men wear trousers like many other
ethnic groups around the northern borders. Women also wear trousers
and a five-panel dress running below the knees. The dress buttons under
the left armpit and is decorated with bands of different coloured cloth
that are attached to the chest from the middle to the right armpit along
a fringed slit.
Economy: The Co Lao practice terraced farming and grow
maize in mountain rock hollows. Basketry and woodwork are popular handicrafts
that are produced by this group. The Co Lao are also known for their
bamboo mats, lattices, large winnowing baskets, panniers, tables, chairs,
and horse saddles.
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