Introduction / History
According to a 1973 source, between 2,000 to 4,000 speakers of the Halang language live in southern Laos. They primarily inhabit the Sanxai District of Attapu Province, near the Vietnam border. A smaller number spill across into the Dakchung District of Xekong Province.
In addition, more than 10,000 Halang live in Vietnam, where they are part of the official Sedang ethnic group. In Laos, the Halang are often referred to as Kayong or Salang. The Halang also speak a different language from the Halang Doan and the Kri, who are sometimes called Halang Kri. The Halang language is part of the North Bahnaric branch of the Mon-Khmer family.
For centuries the Halang have been "slash-and-burn" agriculturists. To break up the soil, the Halang did not use tools or instruments, but simply let humans and water buffaloes trample it. After the soil was broken up, the dirt was softened by water and planting commenced.
The Halang, and their close relatives the Sedang, claim to have originated in a place far north of their present location, perhaps in China.
The names of Halang people are deter-mined by the sex of the child. All girls are given the prefix Y (e.g. Y-Hong), while all boy's names start with A.
Marriage is simple among the Halang. After the wedding the couple lives alternately with the wife's family and then the husband's family for equal lengths of time. Only when the couple have produced several children do they move into their own home.
Although there are no known Christians among the Halang on the Lao side of the border, missionaries were active among the Halang in Vietnam prior to their expulsion in 1975.
The missionaries translated the books of Genesis, Mark, John, Acts and Romans into Halang in 1970, produced a Halang Gospel recording, and have helped evangelize the Halang by producing and funding short-wave Gospel radio broad-casts in the Halang language. These broadcasts are aired by the Far East Broadcasting Company for 15 minutes every week.
Pray the Halang believers in Vietnam would seek to reach their unreached relatives in Laos.
Ask God to raise up laborers to plant churches among the Halang.