The San diu have
a population of about 95,000 people
inhabiting in the midlands of Quang Ninh,
Hai Hung, Ha Bac, Vinh Phu. Bac Thai and
Tuyen Quang provinces. They have other names
such as San Deo, Trai, Trai Dat and Man quan
coc (Man in shorts). San diu language
belongs tn the Han Group.
The San diu engage in
farming either in submerged fields and on a
part of burnt-over land or river banks. They
also practice animal husbandry, forest
exploitation, fishing, fish-raising,
tile-and brick-making, blacksmithing and
For a time immemorial, the San diu
manufactured the nowheel quet cart drawn by
a buffalo to transport goods. The way of
carrying goods by pole uses only when they
go to the market.
The San diu's daily meals include steamed
rice and poridge. They use weak poridge as
The San diu have gradually adopted the
Kinh's wear. It is San diu women's habit to
chew betel and always bring with them a
segment-shaped cloth bag to contain betel
and a small knife to open areca. The bag is
embroidered with many colorful motifs and
the knife is protected by a wood scabbard
engraved with many beautiful figures.
The San diu settle in each small hamlet. The
house is built level with the ground, the
roof is covered with thatch or tile and the
walls are built by bricks.
Patriarchy is the rule of San diu family.
The husband (father) is the head of the
family. The children take the family name of
the father and only sons have the right of
inheritance. The parents decide the marriage
of their children. although it still depends
on the "examination of age" of the future
The funeral is celebrated with many rites.
Three years otter the burial, the dead is
exhumed to take the remains to bury again in
a final tomb. This is also one of the San
diu's joyful ceremony.
The San diu worship their ancestors, the god
of the kitchen, the genie of the earth and
even the Goddess of childbirth. In a year,
they hold many ceremonies such as before
crop, after crop, new rice and rain praying
which are related to the production. The San
diu also worship Kwan Yin, Three Saints and
their group founders.
The San diu's traditional folksongs are
rich. They use to sing alternating songs
(soong co) in their cultural activities and
at festivals. They possess an unique
treasury of stories, particularly stories in
verses. The dances are always performed to
serve funerals. Musical instruments comprise
horns, clarinets, drums, flutes, cymbals and
castanets, to serve the religious
ceremonies. Many games are much liked by the
people including walking on sticks, game of
sticks, badminton in San diu way and