Name of ethnic group: Cham (Cham, Chiem Thanh, and Hroi).
Population: 132,873 people (Year 1999).
Locality: Concentrated populations live in Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces. The Cham also live in An Giang, Tay Ninh, Dong Nai provinces, and Ho Chi Minh City.
Customs and habits
The Cham follow Islam and Brahmanism. Brahmanism’s doctrines draw about three-fifths of the Cham population in Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan Provinces. Matriarchy still exists in Cham society as daughters carry the family name of their mothers. A woman’s family marries the groom for their daughter. After marriage, the groom comes to live with his wife’s household. The right of inheritance is reserved for daughters only. The youngest daughter, however, must care for her aging parents.
The Cham language belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian Group. These people enjoy singing and dancing. Cham dances are well-known through the nation.
The main economic activity of the Cham is rice farming in submerged fields. Pottery making and cotton cloth weaving are two other sideline occupations.