The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga notebook six

caption: marriage, weddings, and tattooing
medium: notes
person: Medzou
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 18.9.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 28.8.1936-26.10.1936
refnum: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (125) Informant: Me-dzou.
text: Marriage:
text: First the boy's parents ask the girl's parents if they would give him their daughter. If they consent, the boy's parents give them one spear and one ring of a brass gauntlet. By this the engagement is established. If a man disturbs it and takes the girl and marries her, he has to pay a fine of two layas.
text: On the wedding day, at about sun-set, two old men of the husband's clan go to the bride's house and one of them carries 2 or 3 layas. They (126) are feasted in the bride's house. Her people have cooked sweet rice and killed a chicken which is divided between the two men. At night the husband's clansmen assemble in the house. In the meanwhile the relatives and girl friends of the bride assemble in her house and then all go to the husband's house. There they are feasted with madhu. Then the husband gives one spear to each of the men of the bride's clan who have come. A young man of the husband's clan, whose parents are alive, kills a chicken and takes the omen of the intestines. (126v) Before killing the chicken he touches with the chicken's feet the bride on any part of the body. (127) In killing the chicken he says: [konyak]. This chicken is thrown away and not eaten. Ghawang is not invoked. Before the chicken is killed (when the guests have assembled) the husband's parents give madhu and rice. She eats and drinks first of all, the other people only drink, and don't eat.
text: (128) The husband is not present at all in his house that night, but stays in the morung because he would feel shy. After the chicken is killed all the guests go to their respective houses, the bride goes to the girls' morung. Some rich men give as price twelve or thirteen layas. The daughters of rich men bring valuable ornaments with them.
text: On the day after the wedding the girl's parents send by one of the bride's sisters or brothers some white rice and one (129) cooked chicken and some rice beer to the boy's parents. When the people of the bride's clan go fishing next all the men who have received spears give one fish each to the husband. If they don't get enough fish, they give of the next fishing party's bag.
text: In the next cold season when tattooing is done, the husband's parents prepare madhu and food (meat too) and the girl is tattooed in the husband's house, who also bears the expenses.