The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga notebook seven

caption: marriage ceremonies and tattooing
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Namsang
date: 21.3.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 23.9.1936-21.3.1937
refnum: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (133) Marriage ceremonies:
text: Rich people pay as marriage price layas, cloth, ornaments and rice of the value of about 100 Rupees, poor people pay much less. The father of the girl kills a cow and if he likes, a pig or several pigs. The father of the boy may pay a part of the price of the animals. The cow is killed by the oldest man of the girl's clan, with a spear, - not by the young man. The same night the meat is cooked. In the morning the clansmen of the boy and those of the girl go (134) to the new field of boy's father. These fields are already cut, but not burnt, a small patch is left, this is cut by both clans on the wedding day. The people of both clans bring food to the fields. Every man of the man's clan has killed one chicken and cooked it. Two boys and two girls of either of the two clans whose parents are still alive distribute the food. They give first to the old people to eat and then to the younger people; the bridegroom and the bride eat too. (135) The young people sit in two rows, in one the boys and in the other the girls. There is much joking and much playful fighting for the food. The bridegroom sits among the boys and the bride among the girls. When the meal is finished several friends of the bridegroom go ahead and cut some wood, which they pile up near the path. Then the girls carry that wood to the bridegroom's house. All boys and men who return to the village carry branches and lay them on the roof of the bridegroom's house.
text: (136) Then all the girls and women enter the bridegroom's house and the men sit down in front of it. The father of the bride kills then a cock at the main-post inside the bridegroom's house and says: [konyak]. Next he takes an omen from the intestines. (137) Then the girls cook the cock and drink the madhu, the men drink in front of the house. Then the girls dance inside the house, the bride dances too. Finally everybody goes to his own house. The girls and also the bride go to their dormitory and the bridegroom may sleep with the bride.
text: There is no tattooing of the knees on that day. The Namsang women don't tattoo the knees and the legs are tattooed much earlier.