Name of ethnic group: Pa Then (Pa Hung and Tong).
Population: 5,569 people (Year 1999).
Locality: Concentrated in communes of Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang provinces.
Customs and habits
Pa Then houses are built either on stilts, level with the ground, or half on stilts and half on the earth. Marriage is strictly forbidden within the same lineage. According to customs, after marriage the husband lives with his wife’s family for a certain amount of time. If the wife has no brothers, the husband will live with his wife’s family forever, and he has to worship the spirits of his wife’s family. Half of the children take the family name of their father, and the rest takes the family name of their mother. The Pa Then worship their ancestors at home. They worship the spirits of the soil and the new rice crop, pray for the rain, and worship the souls of the dead.
The Pa Then language belongs to the Mong-Dao Group. The Pa Then have managed to preserve a rich heritage of folk culture through legends, folk songs, lullabies, and dances. They also have a lot of musical instruments such as panpipes, string instruments called the “tay nhay”, and bamboo flutes.
The Pa Then costumes look very colourful. Men wear shirts, long indigo trousers, and cover themselves with a long scarf. Women wear long skirts, a bra and a shirt. They like to wear their hair wound up in a turban which is trimmed with colourful motifs.
The Pa Then live mainly on slash-and-burn cultivation. Rice and corn are their food staple.