The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook two

caption: marriage and marriage arranging
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 4.8.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 23.6.1936-6.1937
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (182) Marriage:
text: On the fifth day of a Naga month any time of the year, the boy's parents send a man of their family to the parents of the girl and ask them if they will agree to give their daughter to their boy. If the girl's parents agree, the boys parents send them one spear and the girl's parents will cook one pot of white rice, one chicken and one gourd of rice beer, and send it to the (183) boy's parents.
text: If the two young people fall in love, they very often arrange the marriage among themselves and the parents don't interfere.
text: The boy's clan gather together in his house and each of them gives one spear to the girl's clan and they give to the girl's parents four or five layas. They drink at this gathering a lot of rice beer prepared by the boy's parents, they kill chickens and cook it with rice. They cut the chicken at the beak and hit with it the knee of the girl, so that it is sprinkled with the chicken's blood. (184) When the girl's clan goes to the river to poison fish, each of them gives one fish to the boy's parents. Long after that the girl is taken to the boy's house and there she is tattooed above the knees. She stays there with the old women of her clan, who stay with her, for the night. The boy's parents feast the old women. The next day the girl (185) is again taken to her parents house. That is the end of the wedding ceremonies.
text: She stays then as long as she likes - even one or two years - in her parents' house. The husband doesn't come to sleep with his wife in her parents' house, but they sleep when they care for, on the veranda of one of the granaries (not necessarily of their own) - just as the unmarried do. They can also go and sleep in the boy's parents' house, but the husband eats with his parents and the wife with hers. If there are not very many people in a house, (186) the married sons remain there.
text: After the wife gives birth to a child, she goes to her husband's house. The delivery takes place in her father's house, and then she stays with her husband. She enters her husband's clan and morung.
text: If an unmarried girl becomes pregnant, the man must marry her, even if he has already another wife. The child belongs in any case to the lover's clan. and she will soon die if he does not marry her.