The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook one

caption: Thevo, or village priest, of the Eastern Angamis
caption: installation
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Angami> Eastern
location: Cheswezumi (Chezwezumi)
date: 5.6.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
note: [konyak] means text omitted
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: Installation of a Thevo.
text: The five subsequent days after a Thevo dies the village is 'manna' (Eastern Angami word for 'penna'). The day after these five days of the funeral genna is Thevo-phu, - "the day of looking for a new (17) Thevo". The next day is 'manna' too, - it is called Chesekri. On that an ordinary man cuts a little bunch of thatch, however unripe it is, and pushes it into the thatch of the new Thevo's house, thus formally rebuilding it. That day the Thevo is genna.
text: On the subsequent day, called Thevo-lo, the Thevo takes office over. On that day he throws away all his old cooking-pots, drinking vessels, eating dishes and the old hearth-stones. He puts a little new earth on his hearth. When he takes the earth he says: "This is clean earth, it is not earth from a grave". Then he becomes Thevo.
text: (18)
text: Day on which Thevo dies
3rd Five days funeral genna
6th Thevo-phu
7th Chesekri
8th Thevolo
text: Thenezumi can do the installation at any time. Pfesa-Chaduma can only do it after harvest during the Terhengi genna. Therefore the ceremonies of the 6th, 7th and 8th day are postponed till that time.
text: (19) In Pfesa-Chadumi is Shitso at present not nominally Thevo - he is under no food restrictions, but gets any shares of meat he would be entitled to as an act of politeness.
text: Soon after installation the Thevo gives a feast to the village. He first sacrifices a female suckling pig, which has to be entirely black all over. It is killed by a member of the Thevo's clan by hitting it on the head. This pig is the formal, pure animal for the sacrifice - another man of the Thevo's clan cooks it on a hearth made of sticks inside the Thevo's house. The same man makes cups of (20) banana leaves and the Thevo and his wife drink madhu out of these cups while the cooking is going on. Then the pig is eaten by the Thevo and his wife. He may give of the meat to any of his friends irrespective of the clan.
text: Then the Thevo provides cattle and pigs for meat, which may be killed by anybody as they are not slaughtered for the purpose of sacrifice.
text: Shares of their meat are distributed to all house-holds in the village. Also a member of every household must go to the Thevo's house and drink. This is the ceremonial and formal acknowledgement of the membership in the community (21) and has many characteristics of a real communion.