Pong in Laos

Pong
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2022
Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Pong
Country: Laos
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 33,000
World Population: 33,000
Primary Language: Phong-Kniang
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.02 %
Evangelicals: 0.02 %
Scripture: Translation Needed
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Culturally and linguistically, the Kniang Pong of Laos seem to be closely related to the official Xinh Mun minority group in Vietnam, and the Puoc of Laos and Vietnam.

The Kniang Pong are not the same as the larger Pong ethnic group, some members of which also live in Houaphan Province. The Kniang Pong speak a language related to Khmu, while the Pong speak a Viet-Muong language. A high percentage of Kniang Pong are educated and able to read.

Kniang Pong people live in northern Laos near the Neun River in the Viangthong and Houamuang districts of Houaphan Province. The main center for the Kniang Pong is around the town of Hua Mong. Speakers of the same language as the Kniang Pong may live in northern Vietnam.

What Are Their Lives Like?

After two young Pong people are married, they move into the home of the bride's family. They stay there for several years until the couple has children at which time they are allowed to move into their own home. If the couple do not produce a son, however, they must remain permanently in the home of the bride.

Pong women give birth in a squatting position beside the fireplace in their homes. The umbilical cord is placed in a bamboo container and hung on the branch of a large tree in the forest. They believe that when the person dies, they will need to show their umbilical cord to the spirits in order to identify themselves.

When a Pong dies, a boy from the family of the deceased throws three stones on to the ancestral altar. They believe this symbolizes the anger the 'spirit of the house' has at having lost one of its occupants. The body is left in the house for up to a week before it is buried. In the warmer months the stench from the corpse becomes unbearable and the burial is conducted sooner. The body is covered with fragrant leaves before being put into the coffin. They put money in the mouth of the corpse and tie the person's thumbs and big toes together.

What Are Their Beliefs?

All Pong are animists. Few have ever heard of Jesus Christ. Their remote geographical location and small, close-knit communities have ensured their complete isolation from Christianity.

What Are Their Needs?

Ask God to send laborers to specifically focus on the Pong.

Pray the Pong would not be left without a witness but would become a jewel in the crown of Christ.

Pray they will follow Christ when they experience his love and grace.

Pray for a movement to Christ among the Pong people.

Text Source:   Joshua Project