Name of ethnic group: Tho (Keo, Mon, Cuoi, Ho, Tay Poong, Dan Lai, and Ly Ha).
Population: 68,394 people (Year 1999).
Locality: The Tho live in the western parts of Nghe An Province.
Customs and habits
Formerly, the Tho lived in houses built on stilts. Now they prefer houses built on the ground. Close relationships and a desire to help each other have existed for a very long time in Tho society. Young Tho boys and girls have enjoyed considerable freedom through a custom known as “Ngu Mai”. They are allowed to lie together and have heart-to-heart talks with each other. In the course of these nocturnal parties, each boy and girl will eventually find their sweetheart. As for marriage, a boy’s family must spend a lot of money in preparation for the celebration of the wedding. Therefore, a boy must work many days for his future in-laws. The Tho worship innumerable genies and spirits. They also have great respect for pioneers who have made contributions to the clearing of the land and the building of the village, and for the numerous war heroes. All families also worship their ancestors. Each year, the most important ceremony called “Going to the Field” is held.
The Tho language belongs to the Viet-Muong Group.
Tho attire resembles the farmers’ dress of the Kinh in the early half of 20th century. Tho women buy skirts from the Thai and wear a square white cloth around their heads which serves as a female head dress. The morning ribbon is a long white piece of cloth.
The Tho cultivate rice and hemp. With rice cultivation, they often use ploughs and harrows to till the soil. Hemp is grown primarily for producing items for daily use. The forest provides various kinds of vegetable for Tho daily life.