Alcohol in the culture of the Tay – Nung ethnic group in the mountainous Northeast of Vietnam

Author: Nguyen Thi Hoa (Thai Nguyen University)
Speaker: Nguyen Thi Hoa
Topic: Language, Community, Ethnicity
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


Alcohol is familiar in culinary cultures of ethnic groups. The production of alcohol of nations and ethnic groups has distinctive characteristics and expresses ethnic culture.

This paper conducts research on alcohol and drink cultures of Tay ethnic group locating in the Northeast of Vietnam. The author wishes to discover characteristics of both material and spiritual culture and to compare differences between traditional modern wine culture to assess alteration in Tay ethnic culture. The author uses historical methods and logical methods, interdisciplinary research methods (synthesis, statistics, analysis, comparison …), especially ethnographic method to conduct the data collection and implement research. The study focused on fieldwork and exploration of alcohol culture in Tay culture in spatial areas in mountainous provinces of Northeast Vietnam. Tay people (also known as Tho people) are known as the second largest ethnic group in Vietnam (after the Kinh) and take place in the first in Vietnanese ethnic minorities. Tay people live in all provinces but mainly in the Northeast mountainous areas (Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Tuyen Quang, Thai Nguyen, Bac Kan, Lang Son) with 67.65% (based on Vietnam Population and Housing Census 2009). In the life of the Tay, especially those in the Northeast of Vietnam, alcohol is a special culture, and has been attached to the ethnic’ life for a long time. Alcohol is an indispensable part of the culinary culture and can not be absent in the cultural community events of the Tay. The article clarifies the production and consumption of alcohol in life, in food and in rituals well traditional activities of the Tay people in the northeastern region of Vietnam in the past and present.

The results confirm the unique culture of the Tay ethnic group in Vietnam in general and in Northeast mountainous regions in particular. It grounds further study of cultural features of Tay people and comparative work to investigate the cultural alcohol or the culture of other races. The results give rise to the education of traditional values, patriotism, national pride and the sense of preserving traditional ethnic cultures in the globalization trend.


Central Population and Housing Census Steering Committee (2010), 2009 Vietnam Population and Housing Census: Completed Results, Hanoi.

Duong Thuan (2012), Tay culture in Vietnam and the process of world integration, Knowledge Publishing House, Hanoi.
La Cong Y (2010), Come to the Tay and Tay culture, Social Science Publishing House, Hanoi.
Keywords: Alcohol, Tay, Nung, the culture of the Tay – Nung ethnic, Northeast of Vietnam