Living in the culture-rich Central Highlands, the Brau people have formed their unique customs and culture, including traditional attire.
Like other ethnic groups in the Central Highlands, the Brau’s traditional costumes are handmade and sophisticated. Previously their clothes were simply for protecting human bodies and agricultural production. Thao Loi, head of the Dak Me hamlet in Bo Y commune, Ngoc Hoi district, Kon Tum province, said: “In the past the Brau people weaved clothes from the barks of trees. The bark was smashed, squeezed and boiled before being used for weaving. Now we no longer use this material.”
Traditionally, a Brau man wore a loin-cloth without a shirt on. A woman wore a ragged skirt. In summer, both men and women were half-naked or wore short tunics. In winter, they covered their bodies with a soft sheet of cloth. As time went by these clothes have been modified. Now men wear a tunic in a square shape. The front flap is of a bight color with dark stripes on the shoulders and fringe. The tunic’s back is marked with horizontal stripes on the lower part. Female attire is more elaborate with patterns. Nguyen Phong, a researcher of Central Highlanders’ costumes, told VOV: “The designs differ between male and female clothes. Men’s designs are rugged with such shapes as arrows and fences while women’s designs are flowers and plants, with accessories in agate and bead”.
In general, today’s clothes of the Brau are not colorful and complicated, but simple and natural. In their traditional attire, men look strong and fierce with their exposed muscles and women become more graceful and lissome. Their typical ornaments are feather, elephant’s tusk and metal items. The Brau women wear many necklaces, bracelets and anklets because they think that more they wear the more they attract men. Some anklets produce interesting sounds.
Dang Hung from Kom Tum province’s Council of Ethnicity said: “There is a State-funded project to revive the brocade weaving among the Brau ethnic people. Locals used to buy cloth from Laos, but now they weave cloth themselves. The project helps open 4 training courses on brocade weaving for local women”.
Traditional Brau clothes beautify its wearers and contain distinctive cultural feature of an ethnic group in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.