An Ethnic Wedding? Let’s see how Dao Sơn Đầu people celebrate it!
detailed information
  • Language


  • Category


  • People Love


  • Date Published

    Apr 06, 2018

  • Author


  • Social

As Vietnam is a multi-nationality country with 54 ethnic groups, it’s the fact that we still know very little about the unique cultural features of these ethnic minorities. Today, Thanh The Vinh - a photographer who loves traveling will help us to understand more about the wedding ceremony of Dao Son Dau people.

(Original article in Vietnamese language is posted at:


When learning about the location where the Dao Sơn Đầu people live in Nam Lanh commune, Van Chan district, Yen Bai province, we have the opportunity to get more knowledge about wedding customs as well as original head painted custom of the Dao people here. As the story told by the elders and the priests, in the past, on the first day of every month, Dao women brushed their hair with wax, rolled the hair up and until the middle or at the end of the month brushed again. At each time of brushing the hair, Dao women wore an indigo dyed linen and formed a very ingenious roll like a horn. Therefore, Dao people here was called Dao Sơn Đầu (painted head) or Dao Sừng (horn)


Integrating with contemporary life, the traditional culture of the Dao Sơn Đầu people in the wedding ceremony still contains deeply imbued identity and history from a long time. Dao Sơn Đầu wedding ceremony takes place in two days. The first day is the ritual of giving the offerings. The groom family will carry 100kg of pork, 20kg of chicken, 60 liters of wine, new umbrella and blanket, two maces of gold, silver ring and other necessary objects. The groom family brings these offerings to the bride family, slaughter chicken and pig and make dishes as required by the bride family. Then the groom family will stay at the bride family for a night to discuss the great work of the two families.


On the second day, after the priest performs a ceremony to inform the marriage to the ancestor and to wish the bride good luck, the bride and her family will prepare a wedding party for the groom family before the bride goes to the groom family. The unique identity of Dao Sơn Đầu people is that the bride's mother will pick up the her daughter dress, take her out and give to her mother-in-law. After leaving the parent's house, the bride must return her house after a moon phase.


After arriving to the groom house, according to the custom, the bride will have to sleep outside the parthouse in order to wait for the “good time” for entering the groom family house in the next early morning. Dao Sơn Đầu people believe the best things start when the sun is not awake. According to the choice of “good time” of Dao people, the time for the bride entering the main house must be between 1 am to 5 am. That is the best hours for the bride and groom.


At the good time of entering the main house, the bride will have to go through the dress of the mother’s groom to make a ritual for the belief that the bride does not overwhelm her mother in law. After matting to honor the ancestor, the bride and groom officially become husband and wife.

Nam Lanh - Van Chan, 2017

Author & Photographer:Thành Thế Vinh

Thanks to Vietnam Street Photography for letting us share this article. Vietnam Street Photography is a community of photographers who love taking photos about culture and lifestyle in Vietnam. You can visit this community via Facebook:

Written by