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: Sangtam feasts of merit
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Sangtam
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 5:18
text: Feast of Merit.
text: 1. Yungti - big village, 10 big pigs; small, 4-5.
text: All will be killed by the 2 oldest men of the village. One of these takes a piece of virgin ie. newly dug bamboo - strokes a pig with it 6 times - & says 'May this man and his wife live many years. May the family prosper. May all misfortunes go'. Then the host's 'childhood friend' is given: 1 leg of pork, 1 bottle rice beer, 1 bottle beer and rice (explain later), 1 packet of cooked pork (15 pieces). The two friends then pledge each other with rice beer. 'If we go blind, if we fall ill, if we get lame and crippled, yet we will never cease to be friends'. They then pour the rice beer on the ground. They then eat from a single dish and feed each other. Then each is given 2 pieces of pork and 1 of liver. They do not eat their own shares but take them up and give them to the other, at the same time casting down a bit of liver. They do this 3 times (the bit of liver is to Tsangrangru) - finally the host gives the whole share to his friend who keeps it.
text: Clans: major - Chingre, Anare, Mongzare.
text: minor - Thungre, Langtithungre, Retithungre.
text: If the host is of a major clan, each member of a minor clan who is eligible for invitation (only those are invited who have previously been invited ie. until a family has itself given a feast, it is not invited) is invited and his own brothers, he brings an empty bottle-gourd and has it filled with rice beer (members of a major clan are not invited). This is the first night. Other members of the minor clan (not eligible for the main feast) are invited the following morning but are not requested to bring bottle-gourds. ie. graduated shares in the feast. Similarly members of the other 2 major clans as well as members of the host's clan (not his own near brothers) are called the next morning. (ie. the feast falls into 2 parts, 1. the first night. 2. the next morning.)
text: When all are in, one piece of half-cooked flesh is given out to each. The oldest man gets a slightly larger share and the guests take the flesh and a gourd full of rahi home. Then each is given 12 pieces of cooked pork and rice and they eat it there. If the host is of a minor clan, he invites all eligible members of a major clan to the first feast and members of the minor & his own to the second.
text: Feasts.
text: 1. Yungti - big village 10 big pigs.
text: small - 4-5
text: 2. Yungti - same
text: 3. Anitze - big village 3 mithan, 10 big pigs.
text: small - 1 mithan, 2 pigs.
text: (preferably male mithan - if not available, female mithan - if not then a spotless heifer allowed.)
text: 4. Anitze - same + 2 pigs per mithan.
text: (but must be male mithan. No alternative.)
text: 5. Chatzu - big, 2 male mithan + 4 pigs
text: small, at least 1 male mithan + 2 pigs.
text: Repetition of Chatzu is optional.
text: 6. Langcha - a formal alliance with another village - calling a rich man of another village.
text: Anitze - Y posts - khemthung - let set up - but slightly shorter and with the tips cut square.
text: Chatzu - Y posts - taller - and with tapering tips. The mithan head is hung on the post.