In Laotian families, house chores among man and woman are different in each ethnic groups, each region is slightly different. But basically these are split by gender and age.
In Laos, responsibilities’ of husband and wife reflects the agricultural economy, self-sufficiency, in which each family is an almost self-contained economic unit. Each family must produce all the needs of life from rice, cotton, cloth, fish sauce …, to vegetables and tobacco.
The rest is due to the exchange with neighbors or neighboring hamlets. In the family, husbands often do heavy work such as plowing, ditching, hunting and repairing houses.
Boys over ten years of age do lighter work such as raising cows and buffaloes, looking after fields, knitting, following their father to practice men’s affairs.
Due to being attached to the mountains and rivers and streams, and trained from young age, young Laotians are proficient in hunting on rivers and mountains. There are many forms of fishing on rivers and streams, lakes and ponds depending on the season of water and fish.
Entering the forest in the dry season, there is a puddle of fish, the Laotian boy grind a type of bark in the forest called “khech-hay” and put them into the river, that make the fish float up.
Since ancient times, Laotians have been famous for hunting wild animals with rudimentary weapons and talents to go to the forest. Laotians travel through the forest without needing a compass.
To hunt for wild animals, the Laotians used the methods of trapping and shooting with poison arrows … Since guns and gunpowder become available, hunting was mainly done with firearms.
Modern hunting guns have only recently appeared, mainly in urban and sub-urban areas. In most remote villages, they still use traditional hunting methods of their own rudimentary weapons. With courage, Laotian boys still can hunt down wild animals like tigers, bears, elephants …
Localities in southern Laos have tradition of taming elephant. This is a very elaborate and dangerous profession that requires courage and intelligence.
It can be said that the Laotian boys have a special talent for hunting, with just a knife, a crossbow, few traps, a few hooks, they can catch fish, birds, squirrels, forest chickens after a day of field work.
When the musket was introduced, every villages had dozens of them and several sharp shooters. Like some other ethnic groups in the area, hunting in Laos also has some taboos. For example, hunters do not give a clear indication of the direction and results they want. Firearms are kept carefully, kept in high places, avoiding unclean objects. Each person’s hunting record is saved by claws of fangs, fur hang in a corner of the house.
Hunting in Laos has long been not merely a matter of daily food, but a fierce struggle to protect production, especially in mountainous areas.
Surrounding fields in Laos must have a solid fence, outside the fence there are also spikes and traps to prevent the monkey, wild boars from sabotaging the crop.
Near harvest day, each family send a man to night watch the field. Lao people often liken “elephant to the field like mandarin to the village”. Not only big animals are savage, but other small animals, but in large quantities, are also threats to crops such as mices, birds, monkeys, grasshoppers …
In Laos there is a collective hunting events which include dozens of gunmen and participants. Through footprints, an experienced hunter could tell that the prey is still nearby in some forest. Immediately the whole village comes out, knocking and shouting to chase the prey to run in the direction of the ambushed gunmen. Some also use hunting dogs to chase the prey.
The hunting seemed simple but was actually organized, very closely coordinated, requiring members to react sensitively and alertly.
The results of the collective hunting are divided by section, depending on the effort of each person. For example, the discoverer will definitely get a share. If the prey is hit at the same time with two shots, the hunter who hits most critical part will get more. If pregnant women also participate, she will get a share for two.
Things considered lighter such as harvesting, looking after gardens, raising animals, gathering, cooking, sewing, weaving and caring are all taken care of by women. With all the above chores, Laos women have to work very hard.
It can be said that the Laotian woman is only free and dance with her friends during festive days when she is a girl. Until she gets married with children, often having to worry about family works all year round.
The girls also helping mothers with housework. Being accompanied by a mother from a young age, the Laotian girls are very skillful, taking on housework and teaching their children.
For the elderly in Laos only do the appropriate chores in the house, teach children and look after the pagoda.
In Laos, there is a constant respect for the elders, especially the heads of the families and heads of the commune. They have a particularly important position in events such as wedding, funeral, solving dispute between members of the village or conflict among family members,….