Once the day is chosen, the whole village will participate in the construction, which lasts for one to two days. Reliable carpenters acknowledged by the community – 10 in Gnang Luang – are called by the family head, with whom the measurements in arms and elbow lengths will be discussed.
The erection of the ancestors pillar accompanied with incantations, is undertaken first by the family head, after having placed an egg, rice and ginger in the hole. The assembling of main structures is made first on the ground if the labour is sufficient to lift them, or made piece by piece if it is insufficient. The walls and floor are then fixed, while another team take cares of the roof frame, then of the thatched roof.
Once the construction is completed, the family head organizes a ceremony for the Mitcha Tchoho fireplace. The stone fireplace with metallic set is filled with wood and the first five warms rice and an egg in honour of the fireplace spirit. These foods are consumed by all the inhabitants of the house. It is thereafter that the owner kills a pig and prepares a meal with a lot of drinks for all the workers. The festivities may last until very late at night.
The wood generally lasts some fifty years, but the pillar of ancestors is often preserved over several generations. The bamboo rafters last 10 to 15 years, but the walls and floor are replaced every 5 to 7 years. The thatch cover lasts 5 to 7 years if it is not tight, but 10 to 13 years if it is compact and thick.
If you are curious about ethnic minorities, tour Laos and Vietnam would be ideal for you.