February 18, 2016
Thai Lue Cultural Festival (งานสืบสานตำนานไทลื้อ) When an ancient people have the opportunity to show case their heritage
When: Annually beginning of March
Where: Wat Phrathat Sop Waen, Amphoe Chiang Kham. Phayao Province Northern Thailand
A Little on the Thai Lue people
The Tai Lü people (Thai: ไทลื้อ or Thai Lue) are an ethnic group originally from what is now China, who also live in Laos, Thailand, Burma, and Vietnam. 2001 figures show there to be 83,000 Tai Lue in Thailand, living in the main in Northern Provinces of Nan, Chiang Rai, Phayao and Chiang Mai ). The people speak a Southwestern Tai language and are one of the oldest ethnic groups that call the Kingdom home.
The Tai Lue have one of the oldest recorded histories of any ethnic group in Thailand, with the first recorded Lue kingdom being formed in Yunnan in 1180 and included part of what is today China, Lao and Burma. History also has it that the mother of King Mengrai (1238–1317) the first king of the kingdom of Lanna in Chiang Mai and northern Thailand was a Tai Lue..
For more on these people see our post Thai Lue of Thailand
This annual event is for these proud people to show case their history, culture and beliefs. The festival is awash with colour and song and includes a parade and various cultural demonstrations, including the dangerous game of ‘Diu bao’ which literally means “throwing ball”
The Game of Diu bao
The ball is diamond shaped, filled with cotton and has coloured fringes, the idea of the game is that two equal rows of boys and girls face each other and begin gently throwing the ball to one another. It does not sound that dangerous does it?
Any person who drops the ball must offer a fresh flower to the thrower of the opposite sex as a form of apology, all the while closing the gap between the two rows of people. Once a girl is within reach of her chosen male she will reach out and grab his knife and scarf. On returning home in the evening she will prepare a meal and wait for him to call and reclaim his belongings. During the New Year in April (the Tai Lu are predominately Buddhist) many marriages are decided by this simple game. That’s why its a …………dangerous game!
More on the Festival
Along with the demonstrations of traditional games there will be cotton spinning and dessert making demonstrations along with performances of Lue singing and dancing including the Choeng or martial art dance. Almost throughout the festival you will find the Lue people dressed in their finest traditional clothing.
For more on the Thai Lue see The Thai Lue Association
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