Hmong vendor Sa Pa
Therina Groenewald: Hmong vendor Sa Pa – Professional photographer
Hmong vendor Sa Pa – Majority of Sapa people are Hmong ethnic minority. The Hmong tribe in Sapa originally came from China 300 years ago. There is not a much-written history of Hmong people in Vietnam since their literacy is low. Hmong tradition and stories are passed down through rituals and legends.
There are several Hmong subgroups among which the best known are the Black Hmong tribe, the White Hmong tribe, the Green Hmong tribe, and the Flower Hmong tribe. The Hmong tribes are identified by the way they dress. The Black Hmong tribe is dominant in Sapa.
Hmong society is patriarchal. Every Hmong village has the head of the village who takes care of all issues in the village.
Hmong people are animists who believe in ancestors spirits and other spirits, such as house, doors, kitchen spirits. Every Hmong house in Sapa has the family altar for worshiping the ancestors.
Hmong traditional clothing is made mainly of hemp and died in deep blue indigo color, although they dress much westernized these days. Hmong women wrap their long hair and usually wear turbans.
Hmongs in Sapa are farmers and use the agricultural calendar. A new year starts when the rice harvesting season finishes. Hence Hmong’s New Year, or Gau Tao, is at the beginning of December.
Every year in Sapa the Hmong community organize ‘the Love Market‘, an event when Hmong man ‘abduct” Hmong woman and take her to his family. After 3 days, if she agrees, he goes to her family to ask for her hand. Once married, the Hmong woman belongs to her husband’s family line.