La Ha Ethnic Group

The La Ha ethnic minority, also called Phlao, Xa Khan, Khla live in Son La and Lao Cai provinces.

The La Ha house is built on stilts with two entrances and ladders at both lahaends. Young boys and girls are free to seek their love. A young boy will visit a young girl at her house playing a flute or a two-string violin to try to engage her in normal conversation. After the marriage proposal, the bridegroom lives in the bride’s family house for four to eight years before the wedding actually takes place. The bride then joins her husband’s family and takes his family name.

Old customs require that a dead person be buried along with their money and a rice paddy. The La Ha believe there are many supernatural forces including spirits of the forest, the water, the mist, and the house. In each family, only the soul of the father, which will turn into the spirit of the house after his death, is worshipped. Every year, when the ban flowers blossom, a celebration is held by every family to honour their parents.

The La Ha dress the same as the Black Thai.

The La Ha live on slash-and-burn farming. Nowadays, many villages cultivate rice in submerged fields and build embankments to protect the soil from erosion. The La Ha grow cotton but do not weave.

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