The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary one

caption: rice harvesting ritual
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Shiong
date: 19.8.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 2.6.1936-11.7.1936
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
seealso: notebook 4,p.52
text: Now we already see people coming back from the fields where they have cut a stalk each of four different types of rice. They now bring home the small green bundles. In order to fulfil the most important ceremony of the Lai-pham-bu only one member from every household goes to get these first crops of the rice fields but the oldest woman of the house carries out the rite itself. That is why we also have to wait a while as Ahon's oldest wife, the one who had leprosy, is not at home. In the meantime the fire has created so much smoke that I can't keep my eyes open in the living room, (206) yet the others present, even the little children, seem not to be disturbed. Fortunately the smoke has almost drifted away by the time Ahon's older wife arrives.
text: She now takes a bit from the ear of every type of rice. Each has its own name. She gathers them on a leaf and while muttering quiet words she begins to feed the hearth stones, that is she puts a few grains on each one of them. The words may be translated like this. "We have brought the Lai-pham rice. Be satisfied you hearth stone around the fire. Eat first. Drink first". (notebook 4 p. 52). The remainder of the young rice is tied into leaves and is hung up in a corner of the house next to bundles from other gennas where they stay until they fall apart or until the house is rebuilt.