The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript tour diary of W.G. Archer, S.D.O. Mokokchung 1947

caption: visit to Lungkam
caption: village gates
medium: tours
ethnicgroup: Ao
location: Lungkam
date: 2.2.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
text: Of the many things which perished in the last fire a luckless casualty was the village gate. This was in two parts and contained carvings of a warrior and a monkey. The villagers have been so busy re-making their own houses that they have not as yet replaced it. If the gate is touched with a spear the culprit is fined ten rupees. (53) Each new years' day the oldest men go to the gate and offer it an egg - the oldest saying 'May all flourish and be well'. After an epidemic the gate is shut and an old man says to it 'let no sickness come in'. When a new gate is made, the oldest men of the village choose a tree and each assist at the felling by giving a single cut with his axe. After that the best carvers do the carving and when all is ready the gate is dragged to its site and set up in position. For seven days from the time of felling the old men must neither eat nor drink with strangers and they must also refrain from sexual connection. The carvers themselves however are free from genna. The installation of the gate is not attended with any ritual or sacrifices but the whole village celebrates the erection with a feast.