The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga notebook seven

caption: the ritual at the clearing of new jungle
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Namsang
date: 19.3.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 23.9.1936-21.3.1937
refnum: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: The Bangmoba is done every year, but not in a particular month.
text: This year it was done yesterday. It is done at the time of clearing and burning of the new fields; would it not be done during the two months when this work is done, the men of the morung would be unlucky.
text: (105) The Bangmoba lasts two days:
text: The first day a buffalo is killed, and a male and female pig and a cock. The second day people don't go to the fields but eat and drink and clean the skull of the buffalo. The buffalo is tied to one of the morung posts or a post put up in front of the morung. Then the oldest man of the Bishanghu and Yanbaihu perform the following ceremonies. They take a cock and put it into a small basket. They then fasten a ring of cane and some genna leaves to that basket and pour madhu on the leaves. (106) Then they swing one after the other the basket in front of the buffalo and say: [konyak]. Then the older of the two cuts off the tail of the buffalo, picks it up and swings it in the left hand and a dao in the right hand and calls: [konyak]. (107) Then the young men of the other morung of the same khel shout: [konyak] and run as fast as they can to the morung where the buffalo is to be killed. The first who arrive cut off the legs of the buffalo who is still alive and carry them back to their own morung where they beat the drum. The next make several deep cuts into the back of the buffalo and then one thrusts a spear into his heart. When the buffalo dies with a last roar, they all sing and dance. Branches are put (108) on the platform near the morung and the buffalo dragged on to that platform with shouts and songs similar to those when dragging a drum. On the platform they cut open the skin and cut off one hind leg which they carry singing to their own morung. Then the men of the morung that makes the sacrifice cut up the buffalo. Later on the old man who has cut off the tail of the buffalo, kills two pigs with a panji and says the same (109) words as when swinging the cock. From the distance between the legs of a female pig at its death omens are taken. The distance between the forelegs shows the fate of the men of the morung. That between the hind legs shows the attitude of Gawang, whether he will eat of the sacrifice or not.