The traditional culture of Ngai ethnic group

Name of ethnic group: Ngai (Ngai Hac Ca, Lau Man, He, Sin, Dan, and Le)

Population: 4,841 people (Year 1999)

Locality: Quang Ninh, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh Lang Son, Cao Bang, Bac Kan and Thai Nguyen provinces.

Customs and habits: A typical Ngai house consists of three rooms. All families have ancestor altars, and all hamlets have temples and pagodas built to honour the dead. The Ngai have great respect for their ancestors, as well as souls and spirits. Young women do not receive their inheritance after their parents die. Young Ngai people must obey their parents’ wishes. Marriage is comprised of two steps: a wedding and a nuptial rite.

Culture: The Ngai language belongs to the Han group. The Ngai maintain a love duet called the "Suong Co" that exemplifies their rich cultural heritage. Other forms of entertainment include a lion dance, a stick dance and a follow-the-leader game.
Costumes: The Ngai wear garments similar to the Hoa (or Han).

Economy: The Ngai live mainly on rice cultivation and fishing. They have a very elaborate system of water irrigation as a result of digging canals, building dams and water reservoirs, and reinforcing sea dykes. They are also good at mat-making, bamboo screen making, blacksmithing, carpentry, and lime, tile and brick-baking.


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