The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: intimate physical courtship
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Hungphoi
date: 25.2.1937
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: Later at night I can find proof that these beauties cannot be accused of primness and prudishness. Songs come from the Ang's house and in a compartment of the long side room I find a group of boys and some girls sitting around a fire. While the young men are singing one girl is preparing several pan leaf parcels, then she gets up and distributes them among those men who attract her particular attention, often putting the pan leafs directly into their mouths. After a while the young men get up and they also pull up the girls to start to dance.
text: For this dance the dancers have put their arms around the shoulders or necks of their partners, something I had never before seen among the Naga, but there are far more boys than girls in the circle (92) so that not every young man gets to dance next to a girl. It is only a small circle and much laughter interrupts the chanting. These are the Ang boys with the Ben girls. Further back in the Ang's house the Ang girls are sitting with their Ben friends. When I enter as unobtrusively as possible, there are three boys and two girls who are sitting near a small fire which only gives a little bit of light. One girl and boy are sitting closely together on one side while another closely entangled group on the other side turns out to consist of two boys and a girl. The girl is half sitting on the lap of one boy while she had her legs so closely entangled with the other one that at that moment she cannot move. Leaving all propriety aside I shine my lamp onto this strange triangle whereupon the girl now frees herself and runs away. The boys however are not angry as might be expected but only are laughing about this joke. Again it is a night of bright moonlight.