|The Yao (Mien), together with
the Hmong are part of the Austro-Thai linguistic group. Yao culture has much in common
with Chinese: they celebrate their New Year at the same time and use Chinese characters to
record traditional songs and legends. Many of the Yao can also speak Yunnanese or
Mandarin. The Yao can be found in Guangxi, Yunnan and Guangdong provinces of China, as
well as Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Thailand. In Thailand the majority of Yao live in Chiang
Rai, Nan and Phayao provinces. The Yao belong to the Meo-Yao branch of the Austro-Thai
Yao households normally consist of an extended family and like the Hmong, Yao men are
allowed to take more than one wife. In the past, the Yao were highly mobile, always on the
lookout for better land. The Yao set their villages at a high altitude and will not be
sited beneath another tribe.
|The Yao women are skilled at
needlework and one pair of trousers will take up their spare time for almost a year. Other
items of costume are also embroidered, such as turbans, jackets, sashes and caps.
Traditional attire for a Yao woman is a turban, a long robe tied with a sash and the
distinctive embroidered trousers. The neck of the robe is trimmed with red yarn ruffle.
Like the Hmong , the Yao men are also very accomplished silversmiths and New Year is the
time to see everyone adorned with silver (their symbol of wealth). As well as New Year the
Yao weddings are huge ceremonies with special attire for the bride and groom as well as
many ceremonies, great feasting and payments to be made. The headdress of the bride is one
of the most spectacular features of the ceremony, when all the Yao dress in their finery.
There are large costs to paid for a Yao wedding, feasting is done at the bride and then
the grooms house, as well as the bride price to be paid. This makes a Yao wedding a very
important undertaking and both the bride and the groom's compatibility are checked by the
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08 ตุลาคม 2002 16:18:23