The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga notebook six

caption: feasts of merit in Tamlu
medium: notes
person: Pheni
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Tamlu
date: 14.9.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 28.8.1936-26.10.1936
refnum: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (103) Wakching 14/9/1936
text: Informant: Schoolmaster
text: Tamlu: Feasts of Merit:
text: 1st Feast: Ha-saka-pe (rice distributing genna)
Ha = rice
sakapei = distribute
text: It is done after the rice harvest.
text: The first day they dry dhan for pounding for making madhu.
text: The second day the madhu is made, the girls of the sacrificer's clan help.
text: The third day the sacrificer and his clansmen build a strong sitting platform in (104) the house near the hearth and rebuild the platform behind the house.
text: These first three days are not genna.
text: The fourth day the women cook the rice in the morning and the oldest man of the clan kills one pig outside the house with a panji and says: [konyak]. (105) The killer of the pig gets one hind-leg and the eldest sister - or if there is no elder sister a clan-elder sister - receives one foreleg. (Of every animal ever killed the elder sister receives a foreleg). The other hind-leg is given to the sacrificer's wife's elder brother and the remaining fore-leg divided between two old men of his clan. The neck is given to the man's (106) "mong-dzem" (friend). The rest of the pig is cooked with the rice. Then the rice and meat are eaten and the madhu drunk, but there is no "first eater". After this genna the sacrificer is called "Shinmei" (rich man), but not addressed with this name.
text: (116) Tamlu. Inf. Schoolmaster Pheni
text: 2nd Feast of Merit: Mo-be after rice harvest
text: 1st & 2nd day: drying of the rice.
text: 3rd day: Brewing of the madhu.
text: 4th & 5th day: nothing is done.
text: 6th day (Telangtak): The sacrificer and his clansmen go to the jungle and cut banana leaves for cups, bamboos for "chungas" and the forked post (nia sam bu phak - "mithan die post"). In cutting it they sprinkle it with madhu and say some (117) words (which the informant does not know). The clansmen drag the post into the village.
text: 6th (sic) day Telangtak ("platform building day") that day the clansmen build the two platforms a small in the house and the big one behind the house.
text: 7th (mo) That day they also erect the forked post in front of the house. Ginger pounded with rice and madhu is given to the post and some words said. During the night the clans-women cook rice. Also a pig is killed near the post. (116v) When the man who killed the cow gives madhu to the Y-post he says: [konyak]. The sequence of events on Mo day is:
text: 1. The Y post is erected.
text: 2. Then the oldest man of the clan kills the cow.
text: 3. Then he feeds the Y-post.
text: (118) At night of Telangtak one of the sacrificers "mongdzem" goes from house to house and announces that his friend is going to make a feast tomorrow. [konyak]
text: 7th day "Mo" (puja)
text: All the villagers assemble at the house of the sacrificer. In the morning the morung boys of the sacrificer's clan come and cut the sinews of all the legs of the cow (or bull) which is (119) fastened to the forked post. Then the oldest man of the clan (the Niam-gam-bu "all-killer") kills the cow by thrusting a spear into its heart. ["Niam" means really blade or point of every weapon so this is "the man who kills everything with the blades or heads of weapons". He says a long formula which informant does not know. Then all the people eat rice and meat and "bread" and drink madhu. (120) After this genna the sacrificer is entitled to wear an ornamented bag (kok-ghei-kung). No other name than "Shimei" is given to the sacrificer.
text: 3rd Feast of Merit.
text: Man-shu-leu-pe ("rich remaining puja") Informant does not know the exact ceremonies which are very elaborate. At this feast one mithan, one cow and one pig are killed and a new forked post erected. After this feast the sacrificer is entitled to have carved posts (with mithan heads) at his house (121) and certain ornaments on the roof of his house. After this feast the sacrificer is called "Man-ba" ("rich old man").
text: The first feast is given only once, the second feast is repeated very often, year after year, and the third feast which can't be repeated is performed when a man attains old age.