The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga notebook seven

caption: feast and sacrifice at house building
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Namsang
date: 20.3.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 23.9.1936-21.3.1937
refnum: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (126) Shem-mo-ba = the individual feast and sacrifice of a cow. There are two of these feasts: the Moha and the Moniu.
text: When a man first builds his own house he does not cut off the palm-leaves at the eaves. When he has got enough money he will make the Moha. He will buy a cow in the plains and keep ready one pig. Then he prepares madhu and rice. On the first day, this day must be the third or the thirteenth day of the month, the cow is fastened in front of his owner's house. (127) Then the oldest man of his clan comes and ties some lai-mei leaves to a basket. In the basket is a cock. He pours madhu on the leaves and says: [konyak]. Then he cuts off the tail of the cow and calls the young men of the morung: [konyak]. The men come (of the sacrificer's morung) shouting: [konyak] and kill the cow as described above (cf. p. 104ff. ). They carry off the four legs from the knee downwards, the tail and a piece of the hind- quarters. (128) The sacrificer then calls the men of all the other clans of his morung (not his own clansmen). They cut up the cow and hang up the legs under the eaves of the sacrificer. The married sisters of the sacrificer and the sister of his father bring madhu and receive in exchange the two hind legs. One foreleg is given to the brothers of the sacrificer's wife. The sacrificer calls all men of his morung and those of other morungs he likes to invite. They come to his house, drink the madhu and eat the (129) rest of the cow and the rice prepared. After the cow has been killed the clan eldest kills a pig and takes the omens.
text: The next day the sacrificer and the boys or men of his house sit down in the house and the ceremony described on p. 121 is performed by the same man who performs it for the morung. The members of the household hold a genna and eat and drink. When the sacrificer next rebuilds his house he cuts off the leaves at the eaves.