The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes made by W.G. Archer between 1946 & 1948, and miscellaneous papers and letters

caption: erection of a new gate
medium: notes
keywords: sicknessspirits
person: Tsotonoma khelKrusihu
location: Kohima
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 12:44
text: Kohima.
text: When the new gate was put up everyone in the Khel had to be back from the fields before the gate was shut. It had to be put up before sunset. Anyone late who is shut out will die - at time of erection - a great war cry.
text: When everyone was in, they shut the gate at sunset. First the two elders (leaders) lifted the gate - then all the others raised it and put it in position. No offerings - no invocations - that night a feast - after the gate shut, no one allowed to go out - next morning gate opened by one leader plus an elder - then everyone free to go out.
text: The bamboo stakes also put in on either side of the gate to keep away evil spirits and disease or any enemy who wants to bury iron near the gate - and to protect the gate.
text: At times of sickness in the village, also bamboo spikes put round the gate - to keep away to drive off the evil spirit causing the sickness. A spirit in the gate but name not known. When Krusihu was little, his parents never let him go near the gate at noon 'because of the spirit in it'. Stranger boys and girls entering through the new gate are now offering some wormwood leaves (tsiena) and runou (Angami) - sweet smelling herbs ' to keep off the spirit'.
text: Since putting up the gate, the Khel has kept v. good health. The night the gate was set up everyone had excellent dreams and everyone very pleased - strong belief that everything will now go all right.
text: Once the gate is set up, no one may re-carve, paint, or touch up the carvings. If a repair is necessary, can be done only on a special day ie. a full moon day or half full moon month and when no genna - and no death - the new gate was painted.