vietnam - ethnic minorities
Hmong girl in Mon Chau province.
The Hmong, also known as the Miao, originated from southern China and started to settle in Vietnam during the 19th century when they built hamlets in the highland regions of Ha Giang and Lao Cai provinces. The history of this emigration is closely linked to that of the Hmong struggle against the Chinese feudal authorities.
The Hmong belong to the Hmong-Mien group of the Austro-Thai language family. Because of their dispersion and geographical isolation, the various groups are separated from each by language, dress and customs, which may vary greatly from region to region and even from village to village.
There are about 750,000 Hmong in Vietnam (over 1% of Vietnam’s population).
The Hmong are widely spread across the highland areas of Vietnam, but particularly near the Chinese border down to the 18th parallel.
The Hmong particularly value silver jewelry as this signifies wealth and a good life. Men, women and children wear silver necklaces and bracelets. Hmong society is characterized by great solidarity among members of the same family and among villagers.
The Hmong are spirit worshippers. They believe in household spirits and those of the door and cattle. Every house has an altar, where protection for the household is sought.