The Koho People
The Di Linh plateau at the very southern end of the central highlands is the home of the Koho minority. The community of some 90,000 is sub-divided into six highly varied subgroups, including the Lat people of Da Lat.
The typical Koho house is built on stilts with a thatched roof and bamboo walls and flooring. Inside the house, above the entrance door, is the co nao, an intricately carved board used in ancestor worship.
Despite the fact that many Koho were converted to Christianity in the early twentieth century, spirit-worship is widely practised and each family adopts a guardian spirit from the natural world. Catholic missionaries developed a phonetic script for the Koho language but the oral tradition remains strong.
Unlike many minorities in this region, dance is an important element of the Koho’s religious rites; a variety of musical instruments, such as gongs, bamboo flutes and buffalo horns, are also involved.
Subgroups of the Koho minority are famed for their pottery and ironwork, whereas Lat farmers have a reputation for constructing sophisticated irrigation systems.
© C Jan Dodd – The Rough Guide to Vietnam