The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous papers, notebooks and letters on Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower, 1937-1947

caption: marriage
medium: notes
person: Ramgakpa
ethnicgroup: Zemi
location: Gobin
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: Marriage (Gobin)
text: A Senior member of boy's family, or failing him, a relative, broaches the matter with the girl's family, if it is a love- match, and discussion of the marriage-price then follows; but in an arranged marriage, a woman of the boy's family asks the girl what her feelings on the subject are; if she agrees, all the friends and relatives are duly summoned to the discussion of the price. Price settled, pig killed,boy takes salt and good z.k. and takes them to his dekachang and puts them on the bench at the place where the meat is cut up, the bam-so, where enemies heads used to be put. Gbs or s.m. drink it. B & G eat from same dish. Rich families are expected to pay large sums, but the love-lorn poor get away with 10/- or so. Ramgakpa's bride cost him a total of 200/-. In a wealthy family a pig is killed when the price is settled and the boy goes to live in his bride's house. Neither of them is allowed to do fieldwork, and while she sits weaving or minding the house, he sits making baskets or doing light work in the dekachang, and wears the best of clothes and is fed by his parents-in-law on first-class zao kasang and excellent food, which his bride prepares for him. Should he offer to do fieldwork, his parents-in-law sternly forbid him, as this would be "shameful". This honeymoon goes on for a year in the best families.
text: After the "bichar" or within a few days, the girl's parents kill a pig and send the meat to the boy's house, the villagers carrying it. The boy's family provide zu and a feast for friends and relations. The girl's family give the boy a white cloth and a npakpai, which must be worn, either as clothes or bedding, and not put away in a jappa for best occasions. Five days later one of girls' family strangles a fowl, observing the omens from the position of its legs, right over left being good. If one fowl not good, others killed, till one is found right. B & G. eat from one dish. This day also the girls' clan provide a fowl from each house, and 2 kasang, and take them to the boy's home, where there is a feast as before. Every feast day following in that year, the girls' clan must give a fowl and zao kasang to the boy's house, where all the boy's clan's elders gather and consume them. Note. Until recently in Asalu, and nowadays in Laison and group, the girl remains with her parents after the visit after 5 days.