To continue on my fabulous trip to the North-East, I’ll talk now of an ethnic group called “Tai Dum”.
A little bit of history:
It is an ethnic group from China who settled in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos about 130 years ago. The Thai Dum become nomads to hide during the French occupation of Laos, and then end up moving to Thailand hoping one day to return.
During World War II, the ethnic group rallied Japan under the promise of a country of their own.
It is said that three brothers married each a woman from a different origin: Thai, Laotian and one woman from an ethnic group. They all lived in the same house with the parents of the men. While the eldest woman is cooking, with everything ready, she asked the other women to find a plant to finish the bamboo soup she’s preparing. But none of them understood and because of this misunderstanding, they decided to live in separate houses.
But one day, the parents’ house caught fire. Because of the separation, nobody canhelp them. Seniors flew for their lives, only the youngest son entered the house and saved them. But during that time, the roof falls on him, blackening their skin. Thus they will be named Thai Dum (Dum means “black”). The father then promised to live and die by his son’s side.
The family holds a very important place in this community and is never separated. Each family plays a role in the community, none is left behind.
The Thai Dum have their own language, their own architecture and cuisine.
However, the choice of religion is entirely free, and Buddhism, Christianity and Animism cohabit peacefully. They also mix them because everyone pays homage to the spirits, as a kind of register any novelty.
This is an interesting community, eager to revive traditions that are lost gradually in time. The community relies on tourism, the risk of transforming traditions in folklore is high … If you go to a village outside Thai Dum’s traditional events, you will not see anything special there … So remember to check before.
The village I visited is that of Ban Na Pha Nard, and we were greeted by traditional dances and local food, consisting mainly of vegetables. A good time but a little strange because we know, not really real …