THE RAGLAI

The Raglai have always been a sedentary group. I went to search for them in October 2017. Only a few hours away from the glittering beach resorts of Nha Trang, their villages, nestled in the mountains and organised around stilt wooden houses with thatched roofs, offer a stark contrast. However,, concrete is little by little replacing their traditional natural materials. This encounter must have been one of the most poignant in my search for the 54 ethnic groups. On several occasions, I have faced difficulty finding original costumes, in most cases it is due to a lack of interest from younger generations who judge the traditional costume as rather tedious to make or inappropriate for modern day living. But in the case of the Raglai, the reason is much more complex and actually reveals the challenging relationship between ethnic groups and national unity. Indeed, after the war, many of the Raglai decided to burn their costumes, denying their own uniqueness to blend in with the Kinh. As a consequence, the costume – traditionally made of brocatelle – almost disappeared, being replaced with a basic single colored sarong, if not Kinh’s clothes. The chief of the village shared with me his concerns regarding the future and recognition of his culture, a feeling shared by Pi Năng Thị Xea (85) who entrusted me with her own costume.

 

Population

122 245 people (Census 2009)

Location

Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa...

Arrival

Believed to be islanders from South Indochinese peninsula
 
THE LU
THE DAO
THE MUONG
THE HA NHI
THE PU PEO
THE CO HO
THE CHAM
THE BAHNAR
THE KHMERS KROM
THE COR