The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: pigs dying; taboos at birth of animals or humans
medium: diaries
person: Medzou
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 19.2.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 12.2.1937-31.3.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: The pigs of Wakching are all dying, no one knows why. When a pig gives birth to piglets the house is genna for three days. That means that no stranger may enter it. Only those people are considered strangers who come from beyond the river such as Chi, Totok or Tamlu. After the birth of a child the genna lasts six days regardless of whether it is a boy or a girl. During this time the house is genna for strangers. (33) The woman stays at home and the man does not go to visit strange villages. Working in the fields and in the forest, however, is only prohibited for the first day after the birth, but if he is a younger man he sleeps and eats in the morung for three days or in a friends house. As Medzou tells me that is because for a younger man any contact with what is particular to women is bad and dangerous. If he did not keep this genna in future he would had no luck hunting and fishing. An older man only stays away from his home for a day and a night and an old grandfather with white hair can remain in the house the entire time. It seems as though there is no definite rule about when sexual intercourse can be resumed again but Medzou thinks that usually this happens only once the child can eat some rice. That would be after two or three months, but he said that this depends entirely on the wishes of the spouses.