Halang in Laos

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Halang
Country: Laos
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 6,700
World Population: 23,700
Primary Language: Halang
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.76 %
Evangelicals: 0.76 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Halang, and their close relatives the Sedang, claim to have originated in a place far north of their present location, perhaps in China.

Speakers of the Halang language live in southern Laos. They primarily inhabit the Sanxai District of Attapu Province, near the Vietnam border. A smaller number spill across into the Dakchung District of Xekong Province. In addition, Halang live in Vietnam, where they are part of the official Sedang ethnic group. In Laos, the Halang are often referred to as Kayong or Salang. The Halang also speak a different language from the Halang Doan and the Kri, who are sometimes called Halang Kri. The Halang language is part of the North Bahnaric branch of the Mon-Khmer family.

What Are Their Lives Like?

For centuries the Halang have been "slash-and-burn" agriculturists. To break up the soil, the Halang did not use tools or instruments, but simply let humans and water buffaloes trample it. After the soil was broken up, the dirt was softened by water and planting commenced.

The names of Halang people are determined by the sex of the child. All girls are given the prefix Y (e.g. Y-Hong), while all boy's names start with A.

Marriage is simple among the Halang. After the wedding the couple lives alternately with the wife's family and then the husband's family for equal lengths of time. Only when the couple have produced several children do they move into their own home.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Halang people adhere to their traditional animistic religion. They serve the spirit world in hopes of living better lives.

Although there are no known Christians among the Halang on the Lao side of the border, missionaries were active among the Halang in Vietnam prior to their expulsion in 1975.

The missionaries translated the books of Genesis, Mark, John, Acts and Romans into Halang in 1970, produced a Halang gospel recording, and have helped evangelize the Halang by producing and funding short-wave gospel radio broad-casts in the Halang language. These broadcasts are aired by the Far East Broadcasting Company for 15 minutes every week.

What Are Their Needs?

The Halang people, be they in Laos or Vietnam, need to put their faith in Jesus Christ alone. They will need to turn their backs on the spirit world.

Prayer Points

Pray the Halang believers in Vietnam would seek to reach their unreached relatives in Laos.

Ask God to raise up laborers to plant churches among the Halang.

Text Source:   Joshua Project