Thai ethnic group’s presence in Vietnam had been noted several hundred years ago. Thai people are known to have experiences in digging ditches, building dams and setting up water channels to grow rice; therefore, rice cultivation is the main activity of production of Thai people and rice is also the main victual here, especially glutinous rice. Other than that, Thai people also till the fields to grow corn, peanut, sesame and other useful plants. Thai households also grow cotton plants and raise silkworms for cloth-weaving purposes. One of Thai ethnic group’s famous produces is brocades with vivid and colorful patterns.
Thai’s male traditional costume is clothes with indigo blue or dark blue brocades, but in recent years, they have largely switched for more mordern clothes. Fortunately, Thai women nowadays still stick to the traditional costume with white, blue or black tight blouses and long black skirt with embroidered patterns on the fringe. Together with the blouse and skirt, Black Thai women also wear an embroidered colorful headscarf named Pieu. This is also the signature identification feature of Thai women.
Thai villages often reside near sources of water. Each village has from tens to hundreds of houses in close proximity to one another. Thai people normally live in houses on stilts made of woods with wooden pillars resting on blocks of stones; the roofs are usually made of palm leaves or tiles. Depend on that family’s situation, each house will have from 3 to 5 compartments.
Thai ethnic group is one of very few ethnic minorities that has its own cursive letters. Therefore, the folk literature of Thai people including myths, poems, folk songs and so on are still kept until today through the copies on rice paper or on leaves. Thai people also love to sing, especially sing along poems or recite poems with music and dances. Many types of folk dances such as dancing with fans and with bamboo poles have become famous not only in Vietnam but also in other countries in the region.
One of Thai group’s most prominent characteristics is their cuisine. Thai people love the warm and nutritous of grilled meat. Grilled buffalo meat, pork and chicken are always marinated finically.
Sticky rice is the traditional food of Thai people. They are known to use a very special method to cook the sticky rice, which is cooking using a wooden bain-marie. The rice has gone maturity just using hot steam. The sticky rice is soft, glutinous but not gluey. The rice is pressured into bamboo tubes or kept in tightly-covered baskets so that the rice is kept warm and softened all day. Bamboo-tube rice is the specialty of Thai people, it is usually plated during holidays or when there are visitors.
Similar to other tribal groups, the customs of Thai people are fading little by little. The effort to conserve this tribal group’s culture seems to be inferior to the modernisation rate. However, in recent years, Vietnam’s government as well as many corporations and individuals have risen their concerns with this matter. Not only Thai culture but also other tribal groups’ ones are now receiving the attention they deserve, and hopefully, the younger generations can still witness and know about different tribes’ cuisines, customs, dances and, last but not least, their textiles with symbolic decorations as their nonverbal languages.