Traditional culture of the O Du in Nghe An

(VOVWORLD) - The O Du ethnic minority group has about 600 people living mainly in Tuong Duong district in the central province of Nghe An province. They live together with the Thai, Kho Mu, and Mong people.

Traditional culture of the O Du in Nghe An - ảnh 1

O Du women. (

The O Du used to live along the Nam Mo and Nam Non river on the Truong Son range in Nghe An province that borders Laos. Due to historical changes, they have resettled in other areas and live together with other ethnic groups.

The O Du language belongs to the Mon-Khmer group. But O Du people have forgotten their language and their customs are fading. A few people over 80 years old can remember about a hundred words, which are mixed with the Thai language.

Mac Thi  Tim, Head of Vang Mon hamlet, Nga My commune, said, “Only old people can speak the O Du language. Young O Du speak Thai. We have opened O Du classes to teach young people our language.”

Traditional culture of the O Du in Nghe An - ảnh 2

A house of the O Du. (Photo:

The O Du are a patriarchal society, which means men decide everything. In the past the O Du lived on fishing and hunting.

“Our ancestors used to live in the forest. They hunt wild animals and pick vegetables. They rarely bought chicken and pork from the market. Our worship offering for our ancestors should have squirrel or rat meat which were their popular dishes,” said Tim.

The O Du live in stilt houses roofed with bamboo leaves. A stilt house has 4 to 8 pillars propping up 1 to 3 compartments. When building a house, they plant the pillars from the left to the right. In the kitchen they have two woodstoves.

“The front stove is used to cook when the family has guests and to warm the house. The rear stove is for daily cooking. We keep bamboo containers and fresh bamboo trees to dry them on the kitchen shelf,” said Lo Van Cu in Nga My commune.

In the past when an O Du was sick, they prayed for the house’s ghosts to go away and not harm the family.

Being one of the smallest ethnic groups in Vietnam, the O Du’s culture is an indispensable part of ethnic culture Nghe An province.