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Thai People In Northeastern Thailand (Isan)

Phu Tai People

  • The Phu Tai are members of the Tai-Kadai language group and inhabit both sides of the Mekong River, in Re Nu Nakhon district of Nakhon Province in Thailand and the Khammuan Province of Laos. Phu Tai beliefs are based on a combination of Buddhism and ancient animism. They do not believe in as many spirits as other Tai groups but the most important are, the spirit of the district, (phi muang), the spirit of the village and the spirits of the natural surroundings, such as those of the trees. Every village has Shamans, who are women selected for this service. These women are believed to posses powers to cure the sick and for serious illness there are others who are believed to posses powers to mediate between the sick and the spirits. Children under 15, both of whom are buried outside the village area.


Phu Tai Clothing

  • The traditional Phu Tai women's dress consists of a black or dark blue vest, sometimes with kerchief, and on festive occasions, a long sleeved vest with fringes of a red band, a broad red or white sash and adorned with silver bracelets and necklaces (but no earrings).
  • Phu Tai men traditionally wear long blue trousers and a short sleeved blue vest with fringes of red cloth at the collar and front hems. They also have a multiple colored waist cloth knotted in the front above the blue vest.


Phu Tai Ways

  • The Phu Tai are monogamous. They live in nuclear families with up to three generations under one roof. In order to marry a Phu Tai lady, the man must first sever her from her ancestral family spirits. This is a drawn out affair with a number of ceremonies and sacrifices.
  • The principal food is glutinous rice (sticky rice). They have a wealth of culture and customs and their textiles are famous and can be purchased in Bangkok.