NORTHERN THAILAND'S TRIBAL HERITAGE: THE MIEN

Mien Mien Mien Mien Mien Mien Mien Mien Mien
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Mien Mien Mien

Mien

Mien

The Mien, or “Yao” as called by outsiders, are grouped together with the Hmong into the Austro-Thai

linguistic family. Their homeland can still be found in China’s Guangxi Province. The Mien came to Thailand via northern Laos and live mainly in that part of the province of Chiang Rai that borders the Mekong River, as well as in Phayao and Nan. They are mostly known as traders and, only secondly, cultivate rice and maize. They also raise pigs for selling to the Khon Muang. The women of the Mien tribe wear trousers decorated with colorful woven patterns and show “red” on their jackets.

Households with extended families are common. Richer men keep more than one wife who must be chosen from outside the clan. Like the Hmong, Mien boys normally marry one of their cross-cousins, and a proper bride-price must be paid. The children automatically become members of the father’s clan. Furthermore, the adoption of children from either outside or inside the tribe is widely practised. The Mien people in Thailand have adopted many characteristics of Chinese culture during their long migration out of China. Some specialized shamans can read and write in Chinese. They use Chinese to record traditional songs and the names of ancestors. Also, they celebrate their New Year as per the Chinese calendar. If someone dies, the shaman hangs a set of Taoist paintings on the walls around the ancestors’ altar in the house and takes care that the souls of the dead can reach the ancestral land. The house of the Mien is built on earth leaving room for the raising of animals.

To sum up this short introduction about the peoples and cultures of Chiang Rai, we have to include the cosmopolitan population in the city of Chiang Rai: Indian businessmen involved in the cloth market; Chinese shopkeepers trading in gold and jewellery; a whole village on Doi Mae Salong Mountain, founded by Kuomintang Chinese in the 1960’s, that is engaged in tea production; Chinese Muslims called “Haw” who maintain several restaurants and mosques; and the white “farang” foreigners who build homes and rent apartments to enjoy the delights of Chiang Rai—the perfect home away from home and the gateway to the Golden Triangle.

The Legend : Chiang Rai Office
124/15 Moo 21 Kohloy Road, Amphur Muang, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 53 910 400
Fax: +66 (0) 53 719 650
Email: info@thelegend-chiangrai.com
The Legend : Bangkok Office
133/14 Ratchaprarop Road, Ket Rajthevee, Bangkok 10400 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2 642 5497, +66 (0) 2 254 3069, +66 (0) 2 247 5373
Fax: +66 (0) 2 246 5679
Email : info@thelegend-chiangrai.com