The La Hu People
Going to stream to get water.
La Hu are also known as Xa La Vang, Co Rung, Khu Sung and the
Kha Quy. Now the La Hu have a population of more than 5,300, living
in Muong Te district, Lai Chau province. The La Hu language belongs
to the Tibeto-Burman group.
In the former days, the La Hu lived mainly on slash-and-burn
cultivation and hunting and gathering with rudimentary tools including
knives and hoes. In recent decades, the La Hu have cultivated
their staple food and used buffalo to drag loads. La Hu men are
skilled at making rattan chairs, trays, mats and flat baskets.
them are also competent blacksmiths.
The La Hu have set up villages on mountain slopes. Preferring
sedentary life, a number of La Hu villages have moved to the lowland.
To replace their old temporary houses, they have built sturdier
mostly at ground level and divided by bamboo partitions. In the
interior, the altar to the ancestors and the kitchen are always
in the bay used as the head of the family's bed.
Tools to be used in the La Hu's daily life and production.
La Hu men's dress is like that of other ethnic groups in the
region. Some wear trousers and a long shirt, falling to their
on ordinary days, and put on a short vest in festive days. The
chest stripes and sleeves are either embroidered or sewn with
colourful pieces of cloth, silver or tin coins and red fringes.
In a La Hu family, the right of inheritance is reserved for the
only. It is customary that the young men and women are free to
their partners and decide their marriage. After the wedding, the
has to live with his wife's family for several years, then he
his wife to his house.
La Hu women give birth in their bedrooms. Three days later, the
will be given a true name. But if an unexpected guest comes in
meantime, he or she is given the honour of naming the newborn.
The dead person is placed in a hollowed-out tree trunk. Neither
or a protective fence are built on the grave. In fact, the worship
ancessors is reserved for dead parents
The La Hu in Muong Te (Lai Chau).
Every year, the La Hu hold ceremonies to worship the spirits
earth to pray for peace. They involve the spirits of corn and
after sowing and harvesting and worship the founder of blacksmithing.
The La Hu practise 12 different khen (pan-pipe) dances. Generally
young people like to play khen with a bamboo-box. The songs are
in the Ha Nhi language, but still keep their own rhythms. The
possess a rich treasury of ancient tales and private calendars
which the days are defined corresponding to 12 animals including
tiger, rabbit, dragon, louse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig,
squirrel and buffalo.