Beauty of Vietnam mountainous markets
When the glow of dawn shroud the dewy mountain tops, it is time for the H’mong, Dao, Tay, Thai and other hill tribe people to travel to the markets.
Sounds of horses neighing and people laughing and chatting then pervade the cool early morning air in each hamlet in northern Vietnam’s mountains.
For the hill tribe people, market days are like festivals. Women and men wear their best and jewelry. Dao women wear flower-embroidered red outfits and Thai women wear silk turbans on their heads.
Delicious food, colourful cloth and many other assorted goods the stalls. Bamboo sprouts, thin-top mushrooms, green forest vegetables and honey are some of the specialties.
Brocade and cloth that shows the skills of each hill tribe is also plentiful. The H’mong are known for their designs made from wax, while the Dao are famous for embroidering beautiful patterns on clothes and kerchiefs. Silks of the Thai and Kho-Mu shine bright like the blue sky.
Silver jewelry, including bracelets, necklaces and earrings, is what attracts the interest of most hill tribe women.
Apart from trading, the markets are also the places to meet friends, to gossip and even to have dates. People from mountainous areas are very sociable, and so there is always happiness and news to exchange when they meet.
Mothers carry their small children on their backs while doing business, while older children who first visit the market with their families gaze in amazement at the buzzing activities.
To woo the women they like, H’mong men bring panpipes with them to play love songs, while the women respond through songs played with dan moi (a traditional instrument played using lips and leaves). After such markets, many couples even become husbands and wives.
Even nowadays with some old traditions losing ground and people taking on different professions and gaining more money, most people still go to the markets to meet friends and maybe even their partners.