The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook twelve

caption: marriage ceremonies described in detail
medium: notes
person: Metlou
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 19.4.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 24.3.1937-27.4.1937
note: [konyak] means text omitted
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (103) Wakching 19/4/1937
text: Marriage ceremonies:
text: Metlou was married twice. He first married Shuidzing, (Khoknok, Aukheang), daughter of Weikok (Aukheang 39). Metlou and Shuidzing were grown up when they married, but they were not lovers. They first arranged the marriage themselves; then the parents negotiated about the price. As mediator, Yoyong of the "Great House" of the Leunok, Bala, functioned. He went to Weikok to arrange the match. He gave Weikok one ordinary spear and one brass ring, as worn by women (104) to twenty on a bamboo tube. On the same evening when Yoyong brought these presents, Weikok killed a cock saying: [konyak]. He took the omens from the guts, then he fastened some lai-mei leaves to the main post, sprinkled some blood on them and put down the intestines of the chicken at the main post and said: [konyak]. Then he gave the whole chicken, some white, boiled rice (fastened (105) in lai-mei leaves, and one chunga of red madhu to Yoyong who took it to his house. This happened on the second day of the new month, a rule which is observed by all Wakching people; the month was Taili. The months Sheubauli, Shou-em-li and Taili are the proper months for these preparations. On the fifth day (after the evening meal) of the same month the bride with her relations and girl friends, came to the house of Metlou. One Yu-dzau-ba-ha ie. a boy of about 12, whose parents are both alive, of the girl's clan is searched.
text: (106) He goes first to Metlou's house, in a procession the bride and the girls of her gang and morung follow in a long procession. The mother and sisters of the bride come too and also the brothers of her father, but not the father himself. If the bride has brothers only those come who live in a different household, her brothers who live still with their parents do not come, but the young men of her clan may all come. Weikok's younger brother, Shouba, (Aukheang 22) had come too. To him Metlou gave a bundle of spears to distribute (107) among the young men of Khoknokhu, who had come. One spear with a longer blade was for Shouba himself. On the same day at about sunset Yoyong had carried to Weikok's house: three layas, one dao. Weikok killed again a chicken in the way described above, and gave white rice and madhu to Yoyong.
text: In Metlou's house: When the bride and her kinsfolk arrived, at first Yoyong (108) [] a quite small chicken. He does not cut the throat but kills it by strangling it. But before that he swings it at the head of the bride, actually touching her hair with it and says: [konyak]. Then he strangles the chicken, takes out its guts and sees the (109) omens. He then swings the chicken over the fire and then lays it down at the main post for Ghawang. The bride and the girls of her gang sit on the pounding table, the men around the fire. All men and women are entertained with madhu and all of them some red rice is given tied up in leaves to be taken home, not to be eaten on the spot. Then the girls and the bride go home, the men remain a bit longer. Metlou had bought tea for Rs. 1/-. This tea is partly drunk in his (110) house on that night, partly taken home by the Khoknok men. Metlou had also bought betel nuts for 2 Annas, tobacco for 2 Annas and four bundles of pan leaves in order to entertain his guests. They drink and chew betel and before they go each of them receives one spear (as noted). This night Metlou slept in the morung and Shuidzing in her parents' house. The following nights they may sleep together in the granaries. (111) When the people go fishing later on, the man gives some fishes to his father-in-law. But if, as this year, no fishing expeditions are made, no such gifts are given. Next month, in Tepili, Shuidzing was tattooed on her knees in Metlou's house. When this is done no man, neither Metlou nor any other, may be present. Metlou may not even enter the house, he eats in Yoyong's house. But his father may remain in the inner room while the tattooing is done on the platform. With Shuidzing some girls of her clan came to assist at the operation, which was performed by Nangpha, Dzemang's sister, who is married to an Aukheang man. (112) But at night all the Aukheang girls went home except one who remained with Shuidzing in order to cool her wounds with water. But the Leunok girls assembled in the house and were entertained. Metlou's father killed a chicken (without words) and gave rice, madhu and tea to the girls. The girls sing and don't go home till early morning. In the morning, Shouba came and carried Shuidzing, who could not walk, home to her house. For this he received from Metlou two pieces of pork. (113) At the Oulingbu Weikok gave to Metlou one hind leg of a pig, two big pots of white rice, and one chunga of madhu. This was brought by Shouba. In exchange Metlou gave to Weikok one long spear. In the month of Lingha-li Shuidzing began to work on Metlou's fields. About a year later Shuidzing gave birth to a son, Leumung, in Metlou's house, but after a few days she went back to her father's house and refused to stay with Metlou. Therefore (114) he divorced her, but he had to pay to her father: two fields, eight layas and one big pig.
text: (115) Metlou first had an affair with Shuidzing, daughter of Chinyang GB. but she married Yinyong (Balang). Then he married the other Shuidzing, without being her lover before. While he was still married he had an affair with Meniu (Khoknok, Thepong). Meniu was married to Weiku (Dzeunok, Bala), who was much younger than she and a mere boy. Before she had had an affair with Shanglo (the present husband of Meniu, Shankok's small sister). She had a child by him and (116) entered Weiku's house, but without having intercourse with him, as he was still a boy. Then her daughter died and she went back to her parents' house. Weiku had in the meantime a flirtation with another girl, but no intercourse as he was still too young. While she was staying there she started an affair with Metlou. Metlou's wife, Shuidzing, knew it and often threatened Meniu to tear her earlobes into pieces. In the meanwhile Meniu became pregnant, but Weiku was still alive. Then Metlou divorced his (117) wife Shuidzing. But he couldn't marry Meniu as Weiku - a man of his morung - was still alive. Therefore he married Nankhem (Nokanokphong, Angban) but they had no intercourse, for in the first months of marriage intercourse is not usual unless the parties had an affair before. While Metlou went to Mokokchung Nankhem died, before the ceremony of tattooing had been performed. In the same month Weiku died and now Metlou was able to marry Meniu. She gave birth to her child in (118) her parents' house and went in the same night to Metlou's house, as it is the custom.