Changes in the Culture of Ethnic Khmer People in Southern Vietnam in the Context of Renovation and Integration

Nguyen Thi Song Ha and Pham Thi Cam Van


Ethnic Khmer people in Southern Vietnam have created their cultural identities on the foundation of irrigated rice farming and Theravada Buddhism. The objective of this article is to examine and analyze changes in the culture of these people against the backdrop of Vietnam’s reform and integration process. The research used qualitative methodology, including in-depth interviews, group discussions, participant observation as well as a questionnaire survey of 254 households in three communes in Soc Trang and An Giang provinces in 2019, and applied the concepts of cultural exchange and acculturation. The study found that there have been significant changes in housing, clothing, language, weddings, funerals, religion, beliefs, and festivals. These changes are based on cultural exchange and acculturation, wherein the Khmer have been impacted by cultural elements from other ethnic groups, particularly the Kinh and the Hoa people who are the larger ethnic groups in Vietnam, while also maintaining some of their traditional features to preserve their ethnic identities.

Keywords: cultural changes, Khmer people in Southern Vietnam, integration, renovation, cultural identity


cultural changes; Khmer people in Southern Vietnam; integration; renovation; cultural identity