The 1st Mien / Yao Festival At Chiang Khong For Songkran 2018

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #1 DavidFL, Apr 27, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
    The rumour was 2,000 hill tribe people in Chiang Khong for a hill tribe festival at Songkran in 2018.

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    Wow that sounds something to behold, but getting precise details of the event to be was another matter. The dates however were reported to be 17-18 April 2018, basically at the end of Songkran.

    On the 17th I sauntered down to the new Catfish Park & all I saw was a Talad Nut being set up & nothing terribly special by the looks of it.

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    I couldn't get anymore info, apart from the local gossip that yeah it was on at the Catfish Park "today & tomorrow."

    I was not impressed by what I saw on the 17th, then on the 18th after witnessing the Chiang Khong Catfish spirit blessing ceremonies I bumped into a photographer at lunch & was asked if I was going to the Yao festival?

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    Well not really because I was less than impressed yesterday.
    Oh no no, you have to go today.

    So after lunch back down I went. Well the market was fully set up & the stage was operating. Lucky I listened to someone else, some of you might say.....

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    more to come..
     
  2. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Whilst the crowd certainly didn't seem like 2,000 it was impressive that Yao people had come from China, northern Laos & all over North Thailand - Nan & Chiang Rai. It was a wonderful Yao communal feeling, well worthy of carrying on I thought.
    Yao people from the region all coming together to present themselves & enjoy some Yao culture as one.

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  3. DavidFL

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    #3 DavidFL, Apr 28, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
    Some info on the Yao people

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    You generally see them in the north of Nan province, plus Chiang Rai around Mae Chan - Doi Mae Salong & Chiang Khong, plus Phayao on the way to Nan.

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    Their history goes back as far as the 5th BC & records show that the Yao / Mien lived in the Chinese areas near Tibet.
    They were generally a friendly race of people & were constantly moving because they did not get on with the Han in China. There are 28 sub names under the Mien. They are believed to have begun migrating from Hunan province in China during the 15th-16th century and spread throughout northern Vietnam, northern Laos and northern Thailand.

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    The first Yao are believed to move into Thailand about 95 years ago or in the 1890's.

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    Immigration into Thailand was sharply accelerated after the Indochina War when victorious Pathet Lao forces began seeking reprisal for the involvement of many Mien as soldiers in a CIA-sponsored secret army.
    Thousands ended up in refugee camps (Ban Vinai near Chiang Kham) after the war & there are many as 50,000 Miens living in the United States, largely concentrated on the West Coast, particularly northern California.

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    According to a 1990 census, there are about 2.1 million Yao living in China.
    In North Thailand, according to 1995 population figures published by the Tribal Research Institute of Chiang Mai, there are over 40,000 Mien living in 173 villages. Larger numbers are found in Laos (85,000) and Vietnam (474,000) with the majority still in China.
    The Yao found in Thailand are the Yiu Mien, one of the major Mien groups.

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    Riding down the road look out for Yao villages on the Doi Mae Salong road R1234, R1155 from Chiang Khong, on R1148 Chiang Kham - Tha Wangpha, R1091 Chiang Muan - Nan & on R101 north from Nan.

    This Yao lady was from China & spoke perfect English. Blew me away.
    It was an absolute pleasure talking to her.
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    An 84 year old Yao lady from near Mae Chan
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    incredibly proud & what stories she could tell!

    Another trooper of a Yao guy. Amazing characters you get to meet.
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    The music was hot with some outrageous banter (so I imagined) in the duets.
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    Watch out for more Yao culture in Chiang Khong at Songkran in 2019.
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  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Looks like another Yao - Mien festival coming up in Chiang Khong at the end of Chinese New Year 8-9 February 2019.
    20190123_163543.

    Swing on by Chiang Khong for a night or two for some nice ethnic culture and fun.
    Ride Paradise Road on the way to or from Chiang Khong. You won't regret it that's for sure.
     

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