Ethnic Cao Lan group treasure traditional costumes

The Cao Lan, one of two branches of the San Chay living in a number of northern mountain and midland provinces, often wear their traditional clothes to celebrate important life events, spring ceremonies, and festivals.

Ethnic Cao Lan group treasure traditional costumes
The Cao Lan group often wear their traditional costumes during festivals. (Photo: svhtttuyenquang)

The Cao Lan people live mostly in Thanh Son and Dap Thanh communes, or scattered throughout Ba Che District.

During festivals, New Year celebrations, and call-and-response singing ceremonies, they always wear their traditional costumes. Women wear a calf-length shirt which has a brown top and indigo lower part.  When they go to festive events, they wear a red and indigo shirt.

The shirt looks simple but actually it is sophisticatedly cut. It has a wrap collar that goes under the right armpit.

Vi Thị Tuyen of Ba Che District’s Culture Office says, “The clothes of the Cao Lan have embroidery patterns of plants, flowers, the sun, the stars, and human beings. The images feature agricultural activities and daily life. On the front hem they embroider squares and stars, representing the harmonious existence of the earth and the sky.”

According to Artisan Luc Van Binh of Thanh Son Commune, the full costume of a Cao Lan woman includes a long shirt, a brassiere, a midi skirt, a pair of leggings made of brocaded cloth, and a headscarf.

“Embroidered on the Cao Lan clothing are totems such as roosters and horses and patterns representing bumper crops,” says Binh. “Women wear long coats tie with two cloth belts of blue, yellow, red, or brown.”


For a casual long shirt, they stick square pieces of white cloth on the front and layers of white and black cloth on the wrap collar.

When a girl gets married, she must wear a brassiere to cover her breasts. Remarried woman, don’t wear a brassiere, according to the artisan.

Like many other ethnic groups, the Cao Lan in Ba Che District wear traditional costumes at festivals, parties, and ceremonies, and therefore it is easy to identify the Cao Lan by their clothing.

Source: VOV5