Laos CultureLao Culture
Lao's Histoire, Language and Culture
Laos was a gathering of dispersed tribes in antique times and there are few records of this early time. Much of what we know follows the fourth and fifth century Laos War. The Hindu Khmer Empire, which expanded throughout the entire land before establishing its capitol in Angkor in neighboring Cambodia, was the next most powerful force after the China.
Throughout this time, the predominant Chinese were driven out of Thailand by a mass flow of Tai people and Hinduism gradually gave way to Buddhism. And the Khmer Empire finally crumbled into warlike metropolitan states, and paved the way for the Lan Xang Empire, which was established in Luang Prabang in 1353.
Peopled by a mix of Lao, Thai and mountain tribal peoples, the Lan Xang Empire took three hundred years to fight consecutive invasions from Vietnam, Siam (Thailand) and Burma. The 1800s domestic battles for domestic supremacy were ravaged by its neighbors, especially Thailand, which captured Vientiane in 1779 and absorbed South Laos into the Kingdom of Siam.
Up until the advent of the Siamese in the 1870s, the Siamese were the dominating people. After Cambodia and Vietnam, Laos became part of Franco-Indochina, and colonies were planted throughout the state. World War II saw the defeat of France and Laos gained in 1953. Re-establishment of the empire under King Sisavang Vong was at first greeted with approval, but opposition increased, led by the Pathet Lao and Lao PATRIOTIAN FRONT (LPF) campaigners who were allies of the Vietnam Chinese and Vietnamese Communists.
Laos civil war reflected the Vietnam War, and the US army surreptitiously dumped large amounts of explosive material on Laos to mitigate the rebellion. In 1975, when Vietnam adopted the Communists, Laos followed the example by eliminating the empire and reshaping the country's economies to strict standards of the Communists. The country became reliant on Vietnam ese and other neighbors sealed their ties with the Laotian government, resulting in more than a century of separation.
Tension began to relax in the latter part of the 1980', and Laos gradually opened up to the outside community. Today the state is largely at rest and the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) retains power, although some groups of rebels are still at work. In spite of moderate policy reform in the 90s, Laos lags behind its neighbors in most indices.
- Although Laos was never at official risk of being in a conflict with America, more than 2 billion tonnes of explosives were thrown on the land by the USA. - Laos's largest exports are coffees, a heritage of coffeehouses established in the colonies of France. Most of the Laotians are Buddhist.
Laos-Lum (Valley Laos) humans are following the Hinayana (Theravada) type of Buddhism. Laos-Theung religion ranges from Confucianism to Christianity and animation. Laotian men should not be moved in the mind and woman should not move on a monk. Handshake is not so common; the Laotians salute each other with their hands and a light bow of the forehead.
Though Laos is a buddhistic land, visitors should wear appropriate clothing. They speak English, German, French as well as Viet Namese.