The De'ang are members of the Mon-Khmer language family. Palaung is the only one of the four De'ang languages that is not tonal. Many Christian resources are available in Palaung including a complete Bible and the JESUS Film.
The Pale Palaung or De'ang are an indigenous people who live in Myanmar, Thailand and China. The vast majority of the De'ang reside in central Myanmar about 200 km south of Mandalay, Burma's second largest city.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Most De'ang make their living through agriculture, fishing, and logging. Village leaders assign based on one's age and gender. Men perform tasks such as plowing, while the women plant seeds, fetch water and take care of children. Rice is the staple food. Fish, tropical fruit, vegetables, and coconuts supplement the Pale's diet. Most families own a water buffalo, with some chickens, pigs and goats. The De'ang have been culturally influenced by their Dai neighbors.
Life for the Pale Palaung revolves around the village. Elders make judicial decisions and deal with outsiders. Many of the men are able to speak the national language of Burmese. Monogamy or marriage to one spouse is the common practice. Couples have many children. Adult sons must care for their elderly parents. Due to a lack of modern medicine, some children die before their tenth birthday. Some Pale young people move to Burmese cities hoping for a better life. Many children quit school after a few years in order to help support their families. When a son joins a Buddhist monastery, his family gains honor from the community. Families and young people choose one's spouse.
The De'ang have a rich tradition of music, poems, dances, and art forms which they celebrate during Buddhist festivals and holidays.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Many centuries ago, the De'ang converted to Theravada Buddhism. Their Buddhist practices are mixed with numerous animistic beliefs and rituals. Village shamans are powerful figures in De'ang society. No important event is undertaken without first consulting a shaman.
The Buddhism is the major world religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, who lived in the 6th and 5th century BC in ancient India. The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths by which one can gain spiritual knowledge and escape the endless cycles of reincarnation. Theravada, one of the two major branches of Buddhism, declares that by following the Noble Eightfold Path of right intentions and right actions that a Buddhist can achieve nirvana or a state of freedom and salvation.
To most Buddhists, however, these things have far less meaning than their traditional beliefs, which are usually animistic. In animism, evil spirits must be appeased through prayers, sacrifices and rituals. Buddhism allows people to mix Buddhist teachings with traditional religion.
Two of the important Buddhist yearly holidays are Vesak, the Buddha's birthday celebrated in May or June and Bodhi Day, the holiday in December or January which commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment under a Bodhi tree.
What Are Their Needs?
The majority of the Palaung live in fear of demons and evil spirits. Few missionaries in the past have tried to reach the De'ang. Only Jesus can free the Palaung from their fear of evil spirits. Teams of believers can help the Palaung in practical way and demonstrate the love of Christ. The Palaung need access to modern medicine. Solar panels can bring the benefits of electricity.
Pray for the Lord to miraculously intervene in De'ang families and lead them to the Savior.
Pray for loving workers to go to the De'ang and share the good news with them.
Pray for De'ang hearts to be drawn to the Lord Jesus
Pray for a church planting movement to thrive in the De'ang communities of Myanmar.
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