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Red Dao people preserving beauty of traditional outfits

Red Dao people preserving beauty of traditional outfits

The traditional outfits of ethnic minority people are part of their unique cultural beauty. While some have been lost as modernity takes hold, the Red Dao people in Luc Yen district in Yen Bai province have preserved their traditional outfits along with their cultural beauty and customs.

In her free time, Trieu Thi Sinh, an elderly woman in Giap Cang village, Khai Trung commune, in Luc Yen district, teaches the younger women how to make clothing.

She not only shows them how to use a needle and thread but also explains the meaning of each design and pattern. Her work contributes greatly to efforts to preserve the culture of her ethnic minority group.

The Red Dao are a subgroup of the Dao people, renowned for their colourful traditional costumes.

On a background of black clothing, the Red Dao people use four main colours - red, yellow, blue and white - to decorate their outfits. Materials include brocade and satin, with motifs close to nature.

On shirts is a row of rectangular silver buttons, and engraved on the buttons is the sign of Heaven. In the Dao people’s beliefs, once they wear a traditional outfit they are always protected and blessed by God and the ancestors. When they die, the costume is buried with them, and the buttons are a sign that they will go to Heaven and return to their ancestors.

The triangular decorative motifs on headscarves are imitations of the water-powered rice mill of the Dao ethnic group.

Being taught the meaning of the patterns on the outfits and how to make them has helped the Red Dao people in Luc Yen district preserve the outfits and their cultural beauty.

Though living with other ethnic groups, the traditional cultural beauty of the Red Dao people has been preserved, with ceremonies to pray for a good harvest, coming-of-age ceremonies, and fire dances still being held regularly, while outdated customs at weddings and funerals have been removed.

Young Red Dao women are taught how to make outfits so that the beauty of their traditional costumes continues to be treasured./.