The Three-Tiered World of the Tay People in Vietnam through the Performance of Then Rituals/span>

Nguyen Thi Yena


The Tay people represent an ethnic minority in the mountainous north of Vietnam. As do Shaman rituals in all regions, the Shaman of the Tay people in Vietnam exhibit uniqueness in their languages and accommodation of their society’s world view through their ‘Then’ rituals. The Then rituals require an integration of many artistically positioned and framed elements, including language (poetry, vows, chanting, the dialogue in the ritual), music (singing, accompaniment), and dance.

This paper investigates The Art of Speaking of the Tay Shaman, through their Then rituals, which include use of to describe the imaginary journey of the Shaman into the three-tiered world (Muong fa -Heaven region (Thien phu); Muong Din -Mountain region (Nhac phu); Muong Nam -Water region (combination of Thuy phu and Dia phu) to describe dealings with deities and demons, and to describe the phenomenon of possession.

The methodic framework of the paper thus includes discussions of in the comparison between the concept of the three-story world in the Then ritual of the Tay people with the concept of Tam Tu phu in the Len dong ceremony of the Kinh in Vietnam. Thereby, it clearly shows the concept of Tay people of the universe, the world of gods, demons, the existence of the soul and the body, and the existence of human soul after death.

The study contributes to Linguistics and Anthropology in that it observes and describes the world Anthropology views of a Northern Vietnamese ethnicity, and their negotiation with spirituality, through languages of both a spiritualistic medium and society.