The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

'The Feast of Merit among the Northern Sangtam Tribe of Assam', by C.R. Stonor, 1950

caption: the series of feasts
caption: first - Yungti
medium: articles
ethnicgroup: Sangtam <Northern
date: 12.1947
person: Stonor/ C.R.
date: 1950
refnum: 'Anthropos', vol. XLV 1950
text: 1. Yungti.
text: Essentials: The first of the series is Yungti. The essentials of the feast are (1) the killing of four pigs, (2) the supply of beer to his guests by the feaster.
text: Ritual: At this, and at all subsequent feasts the giver is helped by two ritual friends known as shyangrr myangrr. They need not belong to his clan or village, and are in the nature of " bond friends ". They receive a liberal share of the sacrificial meat, and each has a reciprocal obligation to choose the feaster as one of his shyangrr myangrr at the next sacrifice he performs. The feast lasts one day and the pigs are killed in front of the feaster's house by an old man of the clan, who dispatches them with a spear. A sacred fire is lit at the spot, from embers of a special fire previously kindled inside the feaster's house for brewing beer. Further details of this are given below. No dance is held.
text: A striking feature of this feast is that beer is provided primarily for phratries other than those of the giver. Thus in the village of Phirre-Ahirr, where there are two phratries, the component clans invite one another as under:
text: Chingrr.........Invite...........Tongrr
text: Anarr......<-------------->....Lenti-Tongrr
text: Mongsarr....Are invited by....Reti-Tongrr
text: The feaster's own clan are also invited, but only secondarily, and it is definitely a primary duty to invite the other phratry.
text: The skulls of the pigs killed are put up at once inside the feaster's house.
text: Privileges: a) The feast entitles to a handsome cloth, patterned alternately with broad red and blue-black stripes, each dark stripe narrowly centred with blue. There is a broad patch of small rectangles of red wool across the centre: these are symbols of the ferment used for making beer.
text: b) In some villages at least a rounded porch may be built on at the back of the living house and the field house.