Since the first days of Vietnamese civilization, the nation’s 54 ethnic tribes have added their vibrant colors to Vietnam’s highlands, plains and coastal areas. Through historical ups and downs, some ethnic tribes have left their territory or mingled with other tribes and gradually lost their unique social and cultural traits.
Fortunately, the cultural administration has tried to preserve a part of the living past in the museum of Ethnic culture in Thai Nguyen Province.
The former museum is on the site where the resistance force built a Center for Propaganda during the war. After Liberation Day in 1975 it became a site for research and the collection of artifacts from many ethnic cultures began. The museum has five sections, that explain via interesting exhibits and displays about the daily life and rituals of five ethnic and language groups: Viet-Muong; Tay-Thai; H-Mong-Dao; Mon Khmer and Chinese. Displays include the North Western tribes’ traditional games during the Spring festival and buffalo sacrifices by the Mon – Kh’mer people in the Central Highlands to pray to good crops.
The museum has been restored many times and continues to collect important artifacts making it one of the biggest museums of ethnic cultures. The museum opens at eight in the morning. Foreign tourists can have English-speaking guide for a reasonable price.
By Pham Thai in Thai Nguyen
A model of a Khmer tower at the museum
This display shows ethnic people at a highlands market – Photos: Pham Thai