Lao Phuan in Laos


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Lao Phuan live in Laos, while another large group live in the neighboring country of Thailand. Both groups speak Phuan, a language that belongs to the Chiang Saeng branch of the Diac language family. In Thailand, the term Lao phuan usually means "transported Lao," and refers to any Lao-speaking person. However, the Lao Phuan are a distinct, socially prominent ethnic group who value their own language and identity.
The Lao Phuan claim to be the descendants of the Tai. During the thirteenth century, the Tai immigrated to Thailand from southwestern China due to Chinese oppression. As they journeyed, they conquered many peoples and cultures along the way. From 1827 to 1890, many of the Lao Phuan were taken from Laos to Thailand as captives of war. The largest majority, however, remained in Laos. Throughout their history, repeated cycles of warfare and resettlement have caused massive social upheaval for the Lao Phuan.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Lao Phuan are subsistence farmers, living in fertile, green valleys where they cultivate wet rice. They make use of irrigation and terraces and engage in some "slash and burn" agriculture on the mountain sides. Some Lao Phuan, especially in villages along trade routes, have specialized in occupations other than farming, such as blacksmithing. New road construction projects in the area are allowing more accessibility to markets for them. In addition, as the economy improves, rice farmers have found new jobs as merchants, businessmen, skilled workers and civil servants.
The basic social unit of the Lao Phuan is the family. Although the foundation of their social structure is patriarchal (ruled by males), relations between husband and wife are harmonious. There is almost no division of labor by sex. Both men and women plow, fish, cook, tend babies, clean house, and wash clothes.
In general, the Lao Phuan are hard-working, honest, and peaceful. They are thrifty and habitually save things for future use. Lao Phuan social life revolves around "merit-making" ceremonies, ordinations of monks, marriages and housewarmings. The most important institution in the village is the temple, which symbolizes unity and provides a variety of activities for the people.


What Are Their Beliefs?

While the Lao Phuan of Thailand are primarily Buddhist, nearly all the Lao Phuan in Laos practice traditional ethnic religions. Many mix Buddhism with folk animism, a practice in which they seek help through the worship of spirits and objects. They believe in guardian spirits and locality spirits, which are identified with different levels of society. They believe that one must please these spirits to avoid curses and receive blessings.


What Are Their Needs?

The Lao Phuan women often give themselves and their children to prostitution for economic reasons. These precious women and children need special prayer so that they might find hope, love, and acceptance through Jesus Christ. Loving Christian workers are needed to live among them and show them the love of Jesus in practical ways.


Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to send laborers who can minister the love of Jesus to the Lao Phuan.
Pray that God will give the Lao Phuan believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
Ask the Lord to bring forth a strong and growing Lao Phuan church for the glory of His name!


Scripture Prayers for the Lao Phuan in Laos.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Lao Phuan
People Name in Country Lao Phuan
Pronunciation lao foo-AHN
Alternate Names Phouan; Phu; Phu Un; Phuan; Poan; Puan; Un
Population this Country 157,000
Population all Countries 375,000
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 3
People ID 14379
ROP3 Code 108011
ROP25 Code 306692
ROP25 Name Phuan
Country Laos
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country The majority live in at least ten provinces of central and north-east Thailand, especially in Udon Thani, Lopburi and Sukkothai provinces. In Laos they inhabit six different provinces and regions in the central and northern parts of the country. The main location of the Phuan is near the Plain of Jars in Xiangkhoang Province.   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Country Laos
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country The majority live in at least ten provinces of central and north-east Thailand, especially in Udon Thani, Lopburi and Sukkothai provinces. In Laos they inhabit six different provinces and regions in the central and northern parts of the country. The main location of the Phuan is near the Plain of Jars in Xiangkhoang Province..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Map of Lao Phuan in Laos Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
95.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.80 %)
1.00 %
Ethnic Religions
4.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Primary Language Phuan (157,000 speakers)
Language Code phu   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Phuan (157,000 speakers)
Language Code phu   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Phuan

Primary Language:  Phuan

Bible Translation Status:  Translation Started

Resource Type Resource Name Source
None reported  
Photo Source PTD Phonsavan - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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