With more than 400,000 inhabitants, Dao ethnic group occupies 0.65% of the Vietnamese population and belongs to Meo-Dao linguistic group. They live at the altitude of 700-1000m, whereas H'Mong ethnic group at the more considerable altitude. Most of them inhabit Ha Giang - TuYen Quang, and part of them in the northwest regions.
Dao people originally came from China, immigrating between the 12th or 13th century and the early 20th century. They claim themselves descendants of Ban Ho (Ban vuong), a famous and holy legendary personality.
Customs and habits
The Dao worship their ancestors called Ban Ho. Two forms of matrilocals exist, a temporary matrilocal and permanent matrilocal. Their funerals reflect many ancient customs. In some regions, dead people from 12 years old and older are cremated. The houses are built either on stilts, level with the ground, or half on stilts and half on beaten earth.
Dao language belongs to the Mong-Dao Group. The Dao have long used Chinese writings (but pronounced in the Dao way) called Nom Dao (Dao Demotic Script).
The attire of the Dao men consists of trousers and short vests. Women's attire is more diversified and is often decorated with many traditional motifs.
The Dao mainly live off of rice cultivation and by growing subsidiary crops. Sideline occupations include weaving, carpentering, blacksmithing, papermaking and vegetable oil production.