The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga notebook six

caption: food taboos; men, women, pregnant persons
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 5.9.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 28.8.1936-26.10.1936
refnum: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (68) 5/9/1936 Wakching
text: Food gennas.
text: They don't eat:
text: 1. goats
text: 2. a small red monkey (some men eat it) (they eat Huluk and the black monkey).
text: 3. a bird with white hair on the head (Kokodziok) (Burmese white headed laughing thrush) called also Au-chok, (Shiong: Hokang-shu) (eaten by old men.)
text: 4. a bird called Ou-kan-ang-shau (a Burmese minivet), the Ang among birds.
text: 5. any snakes (including python). (69) But there is no prejudice against killing a python.
text: 6. tiger (only a few old men eat it, also for medicine.) (Chen, Choha, Shengha eat a lot of snakes, especially vipers.)
text: If a tiger kills an animal only the owner will eat of the meat, but he won't take it to his house, but cooks it in the jungle or in the morung. If the meat would be shared with other people the tiger would kill more animals. But all the members of his household, women and children, eat of it.
text: (70) The women don't eat:
text: 1. bear, because the bear delivers his young through the mouth. (The bear has three holes at the bottom). When they cook bear's flesh for their husbands, they wash their hands very well.
text: 2. Some women don't eat pork, because the pigs eat their own placenta. Some women don't take it from childhood to old age, others eat it even when they are young.
text: (71) Pregnant women don't eat: mithan, because the mithan has horns, so the child would have horns; no cows, buffaloes, pig. (When a gang goes to a field the girls ask the owner what he has cooked.)
text: Bananas (because they are sticky and the woman wouldn't have sufficient milk)
text: birds which are caught in traps.
text: A pregnant woman doesn't even touch killed monkeys, her husband doesn't touch them uncooked, but eats them when they are (72) cooked, otherwise the child will become like a monkey.
text: (The Ben women are pregnant for nine months and the Ang women for ten months. If a Ben girl marries an Ang man she will be pregnant ten months, if an Ang girl marries a Ben man she will be pregnant only nine months.) But some women take pork secretly. A pregnant woman only takes fish and chicken. (73) The husband of a pregnant woman must observe the following gennas:
text: He is not allowed to touch and divide up any killed animal (but he may go hunting, his companions will cut up the meat), this genna applies to domesticated and wild animals. But he can eat of it as soon as it is cooked, otherwise the woman will deliver a still born child or a child who doesn't take the breast.
text: Neither the husband nor the pregnant woman kills a snake, otherwise (74) the child will be []
text: He must not snare birds.
text: He and his wife don't eat frogs.
text: There is no objection to go head-hunting.