Katang people

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This article is about the Lao ethnic group. For the Australian language, see Worimi language.
Total population
95,440 (1995)
Regions with significant populations
Katang, Lao
Woman of the Katang ethnic group of Laos.

The Katang are an ethnic group living in Laos, although a few live elsewhere in Southeast Asia. In 1995 there were 95,440 living in Laos, making them one of the largest subgroups of the Lao Theung and one of the largest true ethnic groups in the country. (The 2004 estimate was somewhere around 110,000.) Most live in Savannakhet, Saravan, and Champassack. They are one of the few Lao Theung people that do not live in houses on stilts or in trees, but rather in long wooden houses. Whenever a Katang man marries a woman, he will add a room to the house for his new family. One of these wooden longhouses is 328 feet long and tourist can still see it just north of Saravan City. An old Katang tradition for both men and women is to pierce their ears and put a bamboo tube in the hole to stretch out their lobes. This tradition has all but died out. Most Katang follow old ethnic beliefs and many people who do this also follow Buddhism. There are less than four-hundred Katang Christians because many fear Christianity will bring a curse to their people. Islam is popular with Katang women married to Muslim Foreign Nationals in Laos.