The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook nine

caption: ceremonies connected with the formal head-taking ceremony
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 17.1.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 29.10.1936-24.3.1937
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (57) Ceremonies connected with the formal head-taking ceremony.
text: On the third day of the new moon all the Aukheang women fetched wood and water and men and women collected the hearts of wild bananas and other jungle plants. Before that, five days before new moon, they had already made rice beer.
text: In the night of the third day the clan eldest of Chinyang's clan (Wei-me) came to his house. He took a leaf-cup with madhu (58) and sprinkled a little first at the three hearth-stones then at the house-posts. Doing this he says: [konyak]. All these words are addressed to Ghawang - those said when feeding the stones as well as those said when sprinkling madhu at the posts. Then Wei-me (59) tore the leaf into pieces and threw it out of the house. (When Wei-mei dies, Chinyang will be clan eldest of Khok-nok-hu).
text: The next day, the fourth of the new moon, Chinyang and 15 other men of the Aukheang sacrificed pigs. They were killed by the clan eldest. Wei-mei came to his house and killed the pig with a panji at a corner of the house near the front door. Some other people kill the pigs near the entrance of the (60) inner room.
text: First Wei-me poured a little water out of a leaf-cup on the mouth of the pig and said: [konyak] (the same words as on p. 56). Then he kills the pig. (61) We-mei received the kidneys of the pig. The "great house" of Chingang's clan received one hind leg. Chingang took one fore-leg to the morung and eat it with all the morung men. The head is given to the Nieng-ba (Yonglong), but it is brought to the real house of the Niengba, not to the house in which Yonglong lives at present. The other hind leg is either sold or cut off and given away in small pieces and partly eaten by Chinyang's household. The household of Chinyang's sister and her children may buy of the meat (62) but don't get any shares free.
text: Today (on the 17th Jan.) the fifth day of the month Tai-li is the final ceremony with the heads in the Aukheang. In the morning people assemble in those houses where pigs were killed - altogether 16 men sacrificed pigs, - and particularly in the "great" houses of their clans. There they are entertained with rice and madhu. In the meanwhile the young men are busy with their dress, above all their headdress which has to be carefully prepared. (63) About 10.30 am. they begin to dance in front of the morung. The heads of all the sacrificed pigs are put on the stone in front of the morung. The young men take banana leaf cups, fill them with madhu and carry them in the hand. Then they pick up the pigs' heads and go with the cups and the heads several times around the place in front of the morung. Then they bring both to the house of the Niengba. Here they empty the cups into a chunga held by Yonglong's mother. She then gives them (64) a chunga with water. They fill their cups with this water and then tear them apiece, spilling the water on the ground. They also give the heads to Yonglong's mother. When bringing the heads the young men say: [konyak]. (65) Song sung during the dance in the afternoon: [konyak]. The same words as on p. [] says the mother of Yonglong when she pours water into the leaf cups. When the young men tear the cups they only say: "Hi, hi, hi, - ha, ha, ha". The old men say in this moment: [konyak]. (66) Then the young men danced in front of the morung: [konyak] "There may be fine weather, all people are rejoicing, may all be clear, may there be fine weather". (67) Then all the dancers enter the houses of those people who have sacrificed pigs and are entertained with rice, the vegetable mash made from banana hearts and pork.