The Dao have many other names such as Dao quan trang (Dao with white trousers), Dao quan chet (Dao with tight trousers), Dao Ten (Dao with coins), Dao Thanh Y (Dao with blue dress), Dao Do (Red Dao), Man, Dong, Trai, Xa, Diu Mien, Lim Mien, Lu Giang, LanTen, Dai Ban, Tieu Ban, Coi Ngang, Coi Mua and Son Dau. Dao population is over 470,000 inhabitants living together with other ethnic groups along the Sino -Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Lao borders and in some midland provinces and provinces along the coastline of northern Vietnam. Dao language belongs to the Mong-Dao Group. The Dao worship their ancestors called Ban Ho.
The Dao mainly live from rice cultivation ether on burnt-over land and in submerged fields. They also grow subsidiary crops. They still use rudimentary farm tools but apply many progressive techniques in cultivation. Sideline occupations are developed including weaving, carpentry, black smiting, paper-making and vegetable oil-pressure.
Their meals are mainly cooked with bamboo shoots and vegetable, sometimes added with fish and meat. The Dao rear plenty of pigs and poultry, but mainly use for rituals and offerings. The houses are built either on stilts, level with the ground or half on stilts and half on beaten earth.
The Dao believe in the existence of the souls and demons, so have to hold a number of complicated and expensive rituals every year.
Dao men wear their hair long tied in a chignon at the nape of the neck or on top of the head. Nowadays, all have their hair cut short. Dao male attire comprises trousers and short vest. Female attire is more diversified and is decorated with many traditional motifs. Dao women arrange their hair long. In the wedding, the bride often wear a hat. In the past, marriage included many complex rituals and two forms of matrilocate existed: temporary matrilocate and forever matrilocate. Funerals also reflect many ancient customs. In some regions, the dead persons from 12 years-old upward are cremated.
Relationships among members of the same lineage are always very close and the Dao can definite people of the same lineage by their middleman's and his or her position in that lineage.
The Dao possess a long-standing culture and history. Though their material life is still hard, their folk intellectual lives are enriched, especially the legacy of traditional medicine. The Dao have long used Chinese writings (but pronounced in the Dao way) called Nom Dao (Dao demonic script).