Cruising with The Au Co is not only a relaxing vacation to the incomparable scenery of Halong Bay but also a voyage of indigenous culture discovery. Everything has a local connection, from the shore excursion that brings you a local floating village to traditional musical performance during dinner.
In the center of all that is an ethnic costume fashion show onboard. Vietnam is home to 54 different ethnic groups which is the richest and most complex ethnic makeup in the whole of Southeast Asia. The custom of the most famous tribes will be selected for the show, giving you a glimpse of Vietnam cultural diversity.
The Tay is the largest ethnic minority group in Vietnam with the population of 1.7 million people.
Tay women wear high-collared, knee-length tunics, which are split at the right side with five buttons along the armpit and narrow sleeves. Inside the long tunics, they wear short shirts with trousers or skirts.
Tay men wear waist-length shirts and trousers as their casual clothes. Men’s shirts have 4 tails, opened in the middle with seven knotted fabric buttons. In a more formal occasion like festivals or New Year Celebration, they wear knee-length tunic split on the left side. Men’s trousers are similar to those of women.
"One can hardly mistake the Tay costume for any other ethnics because of the signature indigo blue. This dark blue color makes he Tay’s clothing distinctive and identifiable"
The Thai group comprises two sub-groups which are Black and White. The Thai’s men costume is simple and modest compared to those of women so The show on Au Co Cruise will only introduce the women costume of White Thai people. The White Thai’s costume includes a short blouse with V-shape neckline, a long black dress, and a belt. For both of two sub-groups, the most significant feature of their short blouse is the rows of silver buttons down in front. These buttons are not simply decorations, but the number of them tells you about marital status of the wearer. Even number means she is single while odd number is for the married one.
"The Thai costumes subtly embellish female beauty. People say Thai girls are pretty, and actually they know how to make use of their attire to show off their curves"
The Hmong people seem to have the most flamboyant garment style among ethnic groups living in northern Vietnam. Their clothes were made from handmade linen which is high quality.
The Hmong attire pleases not only the eye but also the ear. If there is a Hmong woman nearby you can easily notice her by the jingle from her clothes. The sound comes from metal coins carefully attached to their waistbands, hats, and leggings with colorful strings. The H’mong people really enjoy jewelry. H’mong women often wear silver earrings, necklace, bracelets, etc. The Hmong women also bring colorful umbrellas as a way to make up their charm.
"Others recognize the H’mong people because they wear linen. When a Hmong pass away, his/her children will have to dress him/her in linen clothes so that in heaven, the ancestors can recognize them"
Muong’s costume is simple yet elegant and unique. The Muong women wear a short blouse and a long black which is usually in black or light brown. The high waistband is highlighted with brocade weaving details, embracing the upper body.The costume is completed with a white hat and a green belt.
The Muong men wear the simple costume with a short-sleeves shirt and wide leg trouser.
"Muong people have their own concept of aesthetic and beauty which is expressed clearly in their traditional costumes"
Unlike other groups, Ede women use a rectangular cloth to wrap around their body as a skirt. When wearing, the skirt stretches to the ankle, covering the whole lower body.
Both men and women wear pullover shirt in black.
Men will also use a 3-meter long piece of fabric to wear like a loincloth. The richer the man is, the longer the loincloth he wears.
The dominant color in Ede costume is dark-blue with colorful decorative details on the edges of blouse or shirt.
"The Ede’s style is typical and represents all of the ethnic groups in Central Highland of Vietnam"
Photo Credit: Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies, Vu Nguyen, Kyo.