Vietnam Ethnic Group Profile
Vietnam is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, given its 54 recognized ethnic groups cohabiting in a relatively small landmass. Only seven of these groups—Kinh, Tay, Thai, H’mong, Muong, Nung, and Khmer—have populations over one million, while up to 12 ethnic groups count fewer than 10,000 members, 5 count fewer than 1,000 people including the Brau, O Du, Romam, Si La, and Pu Peo.
However, whether the population is large or small, each ethnic group has its own language and practices, creating a diverse picture of tangible and intangible culture. Moreover, among the 54 distinct ethnic groups, many have local branches, with differences in language, clothing, and customs, which deepens the richness of the cultural landscape.
The rich spiritual life, aesthetics, and creativity of these diverse ethnic groups are based on their actual living conditions, reflected in daily practices, and serve the life of each community. Activities associated with the beliefs and religions of Vietnam’s ethnic groups are crucial to them. Most of the ethnic groups embrace the view of “animism of all things,” and many promote ancestor worship. In addition, ethnic poetry, epic, song, music, and dance contribute significantly to their lives, nourishing each community member’s spirit.
The illustration below provides basic information about the 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam, highlighting selected distinctive cultural and spiritual features of each. Images from the 54 Vietnamese Ethnic Group stamps collection issued by the Vietnam Stamp Company in 2005 are included for illustration.