Khmer in Laos


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

According to a Khmer legend, their people came into being from a marital union between an Indian Brahmin priest named Kaundinya I and Princess Soma from Nagaland. Archeologists and linguists believe they arrived in what is now Cambodia about 4,000 years ago, bringing rice cultivation with them. This was one of the first place where they used bronze tools.


The great Khmer Empire, which flourished between the ninth and thirteenth centuries, encompassed present-day Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and southern Vietnam. Its power declined when the Thai and Vietnamese conquered the Khmer and restricted them to the area that now known as Cambodia.


Some Cambodians moved to Laos to escape the terrors of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. A few Khmer are still living in the southwestern tip of Laos, at the borders of Thailand and Cambodia. They speak Khmer (Cambodian), which is an Eastern Mon-Khmer language. Their language is related to that of the Lao.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Khmer in Laos are rural, like the Lao majority. They are usually either fishermen or farmers. Rice is their staple food, and they depend on the abundant rain for their terraced rice fields. A minority of them are urban.


The Cambodians have a simple social structure. Each village has its own chief, and there is no political structure beyond the village. The village chief is the link between the people and the central government. Village leadership is usually divided; the chief has authority in secular matters, while the Buddhist monk has authority regarding religious issues. The Buddhist Wat, or temple, is the center of village life, and Buddhist rules of conduct are used to maintain social control. These rules of conduct include abstaining from lying, stealing, drinking alcoholic beverages, committing adultery, and killing living creatures.


The Cambodians in Laos have gained the languages and cultures of their Laotian neighbors. Ancient Khmer influences on the Lao are strong as well, giving the two groups a common ancestral bond; yet the Lao see the Cambodian as a lower class. The Lao and the Khmer both are still suffering from the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.


Traditional Khmer music reflects a tie to Indonesia. Folk dancing and the classical royal ballet are also popular.


What Are Their Beliefs?

India influenced the former Khmer Empire, from which it adopted Hinduism and Buddhism. Today, most of the Cambodians in Laos are Buddhist. However, relics of ethnic religions such as ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors for guidance) and spirit worship are very important to them.


Because of Buddhist influence, Cambodians also seek the middle path to nirvana, or ultimate peace through gaining merit in this life. They believe they can gain merit by supporting the construction of new Buddhist temples, giving food to Buddhist monks, and studying in the monastery. Peasant boys often became monks in order to gain an education in Buddhist monasteries.


What Are Their Needs?

The Khmer need assistance with mainstreaming those with birth defects caused by agent orange 50 years ago. Someone with agricultural expertise could help them increase their crops.


Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Khmer in Laos.

Pray for an abundant blessing of Khmer families and communities as they embrace Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords.


Pray for a movement to Christ that will enrich the Khmer community.


Pray for spiritual openness to Jesus Christ that will not be hindered by the false belief in religious institutions rather than the person, Jesus Christ.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Central Khmer profile for Children and Family Missions Activities
People Name General Khmer
People Name in Country Khmer
Pronunciation kuh-MARE
Population this Country 7,400
Population all Countries 16,104,000
Total Countries 13
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Cambodians; Central Khmer; Cu Tho; Cur; Kampuchean; Khmer Krom; Khmer Nam Bo; Khmer, Northern; Kho Me; Khơ-me; Kmer; Ku; Mien; Thai-Khmer; West Cham
People ID 12662
ROP3 Code 104946
Country Laos
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 26  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Attapu and Champasak provinces   Source:  Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999
Country Laos
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 26  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Attapu and Champasak provinces.   Source:  Faces of the Unreached in Laos, 1999
Primary Language Khmer (7,400 speakers)
Language Code khm   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Khmer (7,400 speakers)
Language Code khm   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Khmer

Primary Language:  Khmer

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1899-1933)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1929-1993)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1954-2016)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching
Audio Recordings Love letter to you from scripture
Audio Recordings Online Audio Scripture
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio
Film / Video God's Story video
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Khmer
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena video
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime
Film / Video Ratchana's Testimony
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children
Film / Video The Hope Video
Film / Video Voices of Cambodia - Bihab
Film / Video Yesterday is Over
General Biblical answers to your questions
General Four Spiritual Laws
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
83.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.60 %)
3.00 %
Ethnic Religions
8.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
2.00 %
Non-Religious
3.00 %
Other / Small
1.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
8.0 %
Orthodox
0.0 %
Other Christian
37.0 %
Protestant
50.0 %
Roman Catholic
5.0 %
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2022  Ari V - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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