The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: ceremonies held when boys enter morung
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Lunglam
date: 4.3.1937
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: In response to my questions the old gaonbura of the Longshai told me about the ceremonies which used to be held at the entrance of young boys into the morung. This feast is called Onakbu and was held at the beginning of the cold time of the year, about the month of November. Nowadays this celebration of joining the morung has been completely given up and the boys join at the time of the Oyabu without any formality. For the Onakbu only an even number of boys could be initiated, that is two, four, six and so on. They were about fifteen years old and their hair was long enough (129) to be tied into a knot. The day of the Onakbu itself was a genna day for the entire village. The fathers of the initiated boys fed everyone who wanted to come and eat and drink in their house, and the animals necessary for the feast, either pigs or cattle depending on the wealth, were killed by the Benba, supposedly though without special ceremonies.
text: In the evening of this day the candidates gathered in front of the Ang's house. They were wearing full festive regalia and shields. Two at a time then stood up about ten metres apart and then ran towards each other holding their shields in front of them so that these crash together. This they repeated six times.
text: Early the next morning before the first cock crow they would have to go to the village spring and wash their entire body. They were not to take any cloth with them but run through the cold morning air in the nude. This would be repeated on the two following mornings. Furthermore they would again repeat the mock battle with their shields, now in the morning, at noon and in the evening, but they would not start sleeping in the adult morung from the Onakbu onwards but the actual entrance (130) would not take place until the following Oyabu.