Phu Thai in United States





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

Phutai simply means 'Tai people'. The Phutai are distributed between Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. In Laos, they are heavily concentrated in the bottom half of Khammouan Province. Others spill southward into Savannakhet, Saravan and Champasak provinces, while small Diaspora Phutai communities are found in Oudomxai and Luang Prabang in the north. Since the Vietnam War, a Phutai refugee community has been allowed to move into the Los Angeles area in the United States.

The Phutai language is part of the Southwestern Tai branch. It is closest to Tai Kao and Tai Dam. Unlike most Tai-speaking groups, who have converted to Buddhism, the Phutai remain animists, with little Buddhist influence. They worship 25 different spirits. Every year during the third lunar month the Phutai gather for the Pi Tian ('Spirit of Heaven') festival. People relax and unwind by riding horses, elephants, and shooting arrows, etc. The focal point of the festival is a ritual when the whole community gathers and offers sacrifices and prayers to the spirit they believe resides in paradise above. After waiting for some time, the Phutai believe there is a moment when the spirit actually comes down from heaven. The normally-reserved Phutai dance and jump for joy, and often miracles such as healing takes place.

Despite this remarkable ceremony, there are few Phutai who have ever accepted Jesus Christ, who is the Holy Spirit who gives lasting joy. There are approximately 150 known Phutai believers in Laos today, although there may be significantly more. They do not have their own churches, but meet in mixed Protestant and Catholic congregations with the Lao.

Profile Source:   Asia Harvest  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-05-02
People Name General Phu Thai
People Name in Country Phu Thai
Population in United States 54,000
World Population 1,011,000
Countries 4
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Phu Tai, Poutai, Putai, Puthai, Puthay, Thái
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Tai
People Name General Phu Thai
Ethnic Code MSY49z
People ID 14383
Country United States
Region North America and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Los Angeles CA.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Phu Thai (54,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Phu Thai 54,000
For Primary Language: Phu Thai

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
10.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
1.00 %
Ethnic Religions
89.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
100.0 %
Photo Source: Asia Harvest   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source: Asia Harvest  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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