The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes on the Zemi Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: Potpatngi genna: done in September after the early rice has been harvested
caption: gennas
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, ring binder 1
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: 3rd day. Pokpatngi-hera-le-mai.
text: Everyone rises fasting, not even smoking, and the old man of the house, or one borrowed for the occasion if there is no resident elder, pours specially prepared zao-kasang by the hearth, with appropriate words to secure the welfare of the crop. If there is any zu left over the man may drink it, but not others. After this ceremony the household may have their morning meal. The tingkhupeo goes fasting to the hazoa, accompanied by two bucks who bring the pig or whatever animal is to be sacrificed. Water is poured on the pig (unless this is done the ceremony cannot be performed, but it is only done for pigs and not for cattle) and the tingkhupeo offers the pig to Tsiuperai, whom he addresses as "Apao Tsiuperai", touching the pig with his hand and speaking in a north-easterly direction. He asks Tsiuperai to give them a good harvest from the now-ripening rice, that the grains in the rice- ears may be sound and that their field-houses and granaries may be full. This done, he tells the bucks to kill the pig, which the do by transfixing it with a sharpened bamboo. (A cow or buffalo is speared). The bucks carry the carcase hack to the village, and the tingkhupeo calls out from the hazoa stone: "Work is forbidden, the village is closed, no one may go to the jhums," and goes off to the morung.
text: The pig is cut up and a little of the meat and liver is taken to the tingkhupeo's house, where he cooks them and performs a ceremony, offering the met and pouring zu in the usual fashion and addressing Tsiuperai, who is the rice-giver, saying that they have asked and received a good harvest from him and so are offering the meat and zu to him first, before anyone else has partaken. He then eats some himself, his first meal that morning, though there has been no prohibition against him drinking zu. His assistant also performs this ceremony in his house, but only the tingkhupeo himself goes to sacrifice the pig.
text: The meat is divided among the houses, one portion to each house. The head is cooked and eaten in the morung malik's house, and the gaonburas and the tingkhupeos go there and eat it and are given zu by the malik. The lower parts of the legs are given out among them as was done with the mithan. The rest of the day is given up to drinking and feasting.