Pu Peo ethnic minority people live only in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang. According to the 1999 survey, there were only 705 people living in the districts of Dong Van, Meo Vac and Bac Me. The Pu Peo ethnic group ranks 53rd in the Vietnamese community in term of population.
The Pu Peo in Vietnam were first mentioned as the La Qua by scholar Le Quy Don in his book Kien Van Tieu Luc written in the middle of the 18th century. In early 19th century documents, the Pu Peo were mentioned as the Penti, Pentilolo, Kaobeo and also Pu Peo. In Ha Giang province, the Pu Peo, with a small population, live scattered on high mountainous areas along the Vietnam-China border. Different from the H’Mong people who live high on the mountains, the Pu Peo establish their villages on the flat grounds in mountainous areas. They reside in Pho La, Sung Trang and Phu Lung which has a sub-tropical climate. In this natural condition, the Pu Peo can grow wet rice and make use of forests to earn their living. They believe that the success or failure of each family and each individual depends largely on the position of their land and house. That is why their house building process follows very strict religious procedures, from selection of the land, trees for pillars and the building itself to the relocating ceremony.
The Pu Peo worship three generations including Pe, or parents, Te Ngan, or grand-parents and Te Gao, or great grand-parents. For each generation, they put a loog ten or jar on the altar. Offerings to ancestors on the first day in the new house will be put in the jars. Very often, in each jar, they put a chicken, five small balls of cooked rice and some meat. All procedures must be fulfilled before dawn. After that, relatives and neighbours will come, each bringing a chicken, a bottle of wine or some money to wish the host good luck.
The Pu Peo use the calendar of China’s Zhou dynasty. According to this calendar, a khuop mai or cycle comprises 12 years and a year comprises 12 months. Twenty-nine or 30 days will make a month and 12 “hours” will make a day. Similar to the current lunar calendar, there is a leap year every three years. So, the Pu Peo also celebrates the lunar New Year festival (Tet) as other ethnic groups do.