Tho have a population of more than 51,000
inhabitants living in the western part of
Nghe An province. Their other names are Keo,
Mon, Cuoi, Ho, Tay Poong, Dan Lai and Ly Ha.
Tho language belongs to the Viet-Muong
The Tho cultivate rice and hemp either on
sloping or in flat terrain. In rice
cultivation, they often dig holes to sow
seeds or distribute seeds over the fields,
then use ploughs and harrows to fill up the
soil. Hemp is grown primarily for use in
making items for daily use such as bags,
nets, hammocks, hunting and fishing nets. A
hunting net needs 30-40kg of hemp fabrics.
Fish, birds and animals are an important
source of foodstuffs of the Tho. They are
very experienced in hunting and fishing.
Besides, the forest provides various kinds
of vegetable, fruit and roots for Tho daily
life and survive between harvests and
difficult years causes by crop failure.
Formerly, the Tho lived in houses on stilts.
But now they prefer houses built on the
ground. The Tho do not engage in weaving. In
some regions, Tho attire is in the same way
of the Kinh farmers' dress in first half of
this century. Tho women also buy skirts from
the Thai. As a habit, a square of white
cloth serves as female headdress. Mourning
ribbon is also a long white piece.
In a Tho village, close relationships and
mutual help have existed for a very long
time. According to ancient custom, land is
collecthlely owned by the villagers, whether
forests, hills, streams or mountains. Each
Tho who is living in the village is free to
utilize them to the maximum and to enjoy the
fruit of their labour.
Tho young boys and girls enjoy considerable
freedom through the custom known as "ngu
mar" (literal meaning :women sleeping). They
lie and have heart-to-heart talks with each
other in a strict manner, of course. In the
course of these nocturnal parties, each boy
and girl will find their sweetheart. For
marriage, the boy's family must spend a lot
of money and before the celebration of the
wedding, the boy has to work many days for
his future parents-in-law.
Ancient funerals of
the Tho manifested many unique characters.
The coffin is a hollowed-out tree trunk and
the deceased is buried lying in a direction
parallel to the nearest stream. The Tho
worship innumerable genies and spirits and
the first person who had contributions to
clearing land and building the village or a
war hero. All families worship their
Each village has places for worship. Every
year, the most important ceremony called
"Going to the field" begins a new production
cycle, then ceremonies are held for new rice
and end of a rice crop. The Tho believe in
the existence of man's wits, so when
children are ill, a rite worshipping Goddess
of childbirth is held and so is a rite held
for the whorship of the adults' wits, if the
laters are ill.
In the past, the Tho possessed innumerable
proverbs, folk songs, puzzles, ancient tales
and child songs. But now these are gradually