Tai Lue in Thailand

Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Tai Lue
Country: Thailand
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 94,000
World Population: 1,107,500
Primary Language: Lu
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.20 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Tai
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

By the ninth century AD, the Tai Lue had a well-developed agricultural system. They used oxen and elephants to till the land and constructed extensive irrigation systems. The Tai Lue possess an ancient script, still used by Buddhists in Mainland Southeast Asia.

The Tai Lue are part of the official Dai nationality in China. Although the name "Tai" is said with a "t" sound, the Chinese pronounce it as "Dai." They are most many in China, but there are pockets of Tai Lue people in Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand. There is a small Tai Lu diaspora in the United States.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Tai Lue of Thailand are primarily farmers. They cultivate a wide variety of crops, such as rice, fruit, and vegetables, for both consumption and trade. Tai Lue villagers frequently meet with the Thai to trade meat and vegetables for necessary items such as clothing and salt.

The Tai Lue are also good fishermen and clever silver smiths. The men fabricate the famous Tai Lue swords, and the women's specialties include weaving and embroidery. Many earn a living by making reed brooms, while others work in factories as cutters and polishers of precious stones.

The Tai Lue, consider the village the most significant political unit of society. A headman leads each village, and a father leads each family. Tai Lue villages are located either on raised ground surrounded by rice fields, or on high ground on either side of a road or pathway. Their houses usually have floors made of split bamboo and straw thatched roofs.

Tai Lue men traditionally wore blue coats, dark blue bell trousers with bands of red, yellow, or white, and large white turbans. Thet are famous for their unusual and picturesque sword dances. The women wear light blue embroidered jackets that are adorned with small pieces of silver. They also wear red or scarlet skirts and turbans.

Homes contain ancestral shrines that they use during marriage ceremonies. Premarital sexual relations seem to be accepted among the Tai Lue. Once there is a marriage, the families must decide which set of parents needs their help the most.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Buddhism was introduced into Thailand in 329 B.C.; and today, most of the Tai Lue profess to be Buddhist. However, most of them have mixed elements of Buddhism with their traditional animistic beliefs (the belief that non-living objects have spirits). They often seek help through supernatural spirits and objects. Ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors for provision and guidance) is also common. If not appeased, their ancestral spirits cause illnesses. Families usually have small altars near their homes where they make sacrifices and offerings to the spirits. The people also believe that each village has a guardian spirit, as well as various spirits that are linked to the elements of nature.

What Are Their Needs?

The Tai Lue people need to hear about Jesus Christ, the only one who is worthy of their full devotion.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Tai Lue people to overcome fear of being punished by the spirit world so that they will be free to embrace the King of kings.

Pray for spiritual hunger that will give the Tai Lue people the willingness to give up whatever it takes to enter the Kingdom of God.

Pray for an abundant rice harvest that will help the Tai Lue people in Thailand that the Lord is both loving and all-powerful.

Pray for "persons of peace" among Tai Lue leaders that will open their communities to those who want to take Christ to them.

Text Source:   Joshua Project