of Ethnic Group:
Cong (Xam Khong, Mang Nhe, and Xa Xeng).
Population: About 1,300 people.
Locality: Muong Te District in Lai Chau province and
along the Da (Black) River.
Customs and Habits: The Cong live in houses built on
stilts. Each Cong lineage has a leader, its own social taboos, and its
own manner of worshipping their ancestors at the altar. According to
customs, young men and women can each take initiative in marriage. People
of direct relations can only get married to their seventh generation
relative. The man's family actively proposes marriage. After the betrothal,
the man lives with his future wife's family for several years. Women
wear their hair knotted in a chignon on top of their heads which shows
that they are married. The wedding is often celebrated once the couple
has had children. The man must then offer pieces of silver money to
his wife's parents. The woman's family must prepare a dowry for the
bride to bring to her husband's house. Every year, each Cong village
holds a communal ceremony where several rites are performed to pray
for bumper crops.
Culture: The Cong language belongs to the Tibet-Burman
Group.The Cong follow their own calendar. The Cong folk arts are diverse.
Their songs are characteristically composed of smooth melodies with
alternating songs that are sung at communal ceremonies.
Economy: The Cong use a slash and
burn method of cultivation. The Cong grow cotton which is used to barter
for other cloth. Other handicraft activities include basketry and, particularly,
red dyed rattan mat making.
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