Traditional Women's Hairstyles in Northern Vietnam

Tradition plays a huge role in Vietnamese society. There has been a great deal of exposure to the outside world in recent times but especially in the villages that has changed little. Hanoi, in the North of Vietnam, is the capital and while 21st Century technology is common, so are many of the things that have existed for many decades and more. Tradition exists in fashion, clothes and hairstyle and when it comes to hairstyle the use of the ‘’khan dong’’, black fabric that is fashioned into a tube into which a girl’s long hair is inserted continues to be the fashion.

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Normally the khan dong is slightly shorter than the girl’s hair so the hair hangs below the cloth. It is similar to the ponytail that is a style that exists in many parts of the world, only without the cloth. The ponytail hangs to the side of the head. There is a name for the style; ‘’toc duoi ga’’ which means ‘’rooster-tailed hair’’. The cloth must be black and many women select velvet as a luxurious cloth especially if they are preparing for special occasions.

An alternative to the ‘’toc duoi ga’’ is the “khan mo qua” (crow's beak) which also uses black fabric but in this case, it is heavy and square. It is folded into a triangle and worn over the ‘’khan dong’’ The long side of the triangle sits above the forehead with the two corners tied at the nape. The appearance of the stiff fabric above the forehead looks similar to a beak sticking out from the forehead. When in Vietnam, you will see both these styles in the North when you are enjoying a Vietnam tour package which will always involve spending some time in the North.

Read more: Vietnamese costume