The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook eight

caption: engagement, lead and brass earrings, marriage and pre-marital sex
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting
date: 9.10.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 4.10.1936-23.2.1937
note: [konyak] means text omitted
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (60) Oting, 9/10/1936
text: Informant: Chingai
text: Engagement:
text: When a girl is quite young yet the parents of a boy may ask her parents if they would consent to give later on their daughter in marriage to the boy. If the parents of the girl agree the bridegroom gives to the girls' parents pan leaves. As long as the girl is very young she wears a spiral of lead in her ears. That is the sign that she is not yet allowed to sleep with boys, not even her fiance. At O-ya-bu she may (61) take out this lead spiral and puts brass spiral into her ears. From now on she may receive lovers. Her father builds in another room a machan for the girls, here she may sleep with men. If she is already engaged only her fiance should come, if not she may take any lover she wishes. The fiance of a girl continues to give pan, fish and game to her parents. He sleeps in their house but does not take there any meals and does not work for them. If the girl who has still the lead earrings has secretly a (62) lover and becomes pregnant, her parents may give her the brass rings at Lau-long-bu and she has soon to marry her lover. If, however, she was raped, she tells her parents and the man is fined his dao and other utensils. No girl can be forced to marry a man she doesn't want.