14 Facts About Lao people


Lao people are a Tai ethnic group native to Southeast Asia, who speak the eponymous language of the Kra–Dai languages.

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Tribes descended from the Ai Lao people included the Tai tribes that migrated to Southeast Asia.

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The dominant ethnicity of Northeastern Thailand who descend from the Lao are differentiated from the Lao of Laos and by the Thais by the term Isan people or Thai Isan, a Sanskrit-derived term meaning northeast, but 'Lao' is still used.

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None of the modern terms used for Tai groups can be detected in these descriptors except Lao or Ai Lao people, which was applied to a variety of groups, mostly Hill-dwellers .

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French prevented and preserved the Lao people from becoming a regional sub-category of the Thai nation, much like their brethren in Isan, known as the 'North-Eastern Thai'.

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Since Lao people dominance was seen as the greatest threat in the region, 'Lao people' was removed as a category in the census, and heavy-handed policies were enacted.

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Small Lao people communities exist in Thailand and Cambodia, residing primarily in the former Lao people territory of Stung Treng, and Vietnam.

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Primary places of asylum for the Lao people refugees included the United States, France, Canada and Australia.

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Boundaries of Lao people dialects extend into the North-East of Thailand, known as Isan, but the Lao people spoken in Thailand as a whole can be differentiated by adoption of much Thai vocabulary and code-switching.

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Temple in a Lao people community is the centre of community affairs, where villagers gather to discuss concerns or ask monks for their wisdom and guidance, and most men are expected to enter the monastery at some point to further their religious knowledge and make merit.

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Lao people believe in thirty-two spirits known as khwan that protect the body, and baci ceremonies are undertaken during momentous occasions or times of anxiety to bind the spirits to the body, as their absence is believed to invite illness or harm.

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Guardian spirits of Lao people often include ancestors or angelic-beings who arrive at various points in life, better known as thewada.

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The Lao people version was interwoven with the Lao people creation myth and is, mistakenly, thought of as a Jataka story so is held in high esteem.

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Peculiar to Lao people are reverence for Nagas, snake-like demigods that rule the waterways.

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