Nyahon in Laos

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Nyahon
Country: Laos
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 9,700
World Population: 9,700
Primary Language: Nyaheun
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.75 %
Evangelicals: 0.75 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Nyahon live on the Bolaven Plateau at a low altitude but are classified as Lao Theung (300-900m) simply because they are a Mon-Khmer group. The Nyahon ethnic group inhabit 30 villages in southern Laos, primarily on the eastern part of the Bolaven Plateau in Champasak Province. Others are found in neighboring Attapu and Xekong provinces. Despite their relatively close proximity to Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, there is no evidence of Nyahon people living outside of Laos.

Where Are they Located?

The Nyahon used to wear their own style of traditional clothing, but they lost this custom at least three generations ago. Today the Nyahon wear normal Lao clothing.

Although in many respects Nyahon society is matriarchal, inheritance rights are divided equally between sons and daughters.

Pre-marital sex is not only allowed in Nyahon communities but is actually encouraged. 'Flower' houses are set aside for young people to spend the night together. After marriage, the husband must live with his wife's family.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Animism has a strong hold on the Nyahon. They won't make a decision until they ask the spirits about their wishes. The Nyahon believe each person has seven souls. They especially revere a spirit called Brrah. Other spirits of nature include the spirit of trees, water, rice-field, thunder, and mountains.

Shamans, or spirit priests, conduct regular ceremonies where they make sacrifices and offer up prayers to protective spirits. They believe they can identify offended spirits by a ritual involving rice and the organs of a chicken. They hold special ceremonies in the event of a natural disaster or epidemic.

What Are Their Needs?

The best immediate hope for the evangelization of the Nyahon may rest with believers from recent people movement to Christ that have occurred among several tribal groups in northern Cambodia. At this point, less than one percent of the Nyahon people are Christian.

Prayer Points

The Nyahon have been separated from the Gospel throughout their history. Pray many would soon hear.
Ask God to raise up laborers to plant churches among the Nyahon.
In prayer, disarm the principalities that have prevented the Nyahon from hearing and believing the gospel.

Text Source:   Joshua Project