Viet Nam’s northwestern region appeals to visitors for its natural beauty and the unique culture of local ethnic groups, which includes their costumes and architecture.
To the Mong, particularly Mong women, earrings are not just decorative, they represent cultural identity.
Some of the silver earrings are simple. Others are very elaborate. Most Mong earrings are round and decorated with symbols of the sun and the moon.
Mua Thi My of Xim Vang commune, Bac Yen district, Son La, province, said, “I began to wear earrings when I was little. It was a tradition that my parents passed on to me. When I go out, I usually choose the most beautiful earrings to wear.”
Other shapes of Mong earrings are: question mark, spiral, crescent moon, and circle. Patterns carved on the earrings are of flowers or symmetrical lines.
Mua Thi Gong of Xim Vang commune shared, “Our parents pierced our ears when we were 4 or 5 years old and we began to wear earrings when we were 15. We don’t remove our earrings when farming, weaving, or going to the market because they are part of our daily life. We are proud of our earrings because they represent Mong culture.”
Mong earrings indicate the wealth of the wearer. Those who wear big earrings are seen as strong, hard-working, and wealthy. Mong people believe that earrings can ward off evil spirits and bad winds.
Hang Thi Dong of Cua Mang village, Son La province, noted, “We wear earrings wherever we go. We believe that the earrings bring us good luck and keep us safe from evil spirits.”
Mong women own a number of hand-made earrings, which are sold at every Mong market session.