The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes on the Zemi Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: gennas
caption: Hga-ngi genna: performed late Decomber
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, ring binder 1
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: Hga-ngi (late December).
text: 1st day: Hekak-ngi (Day of removing spirits of dead from the village).
text: Anyone who during the past year has performed the ceremony called 'Kade-kang-bam-me-ra-teole' or 'Katsai-me-here-teole', which is an important genna for illness caused by ancestors who must be appeased, must fast from early morning on this day, neither eating, drinking, smoking nor working until the dead have been separated from the living. Those fasting light a fire and sit outside the house.
text: Whoever wishes to perform a genna for illness on this day, whether they have performed the above mentioned ceremony or not, must also fast and remain outside the house. The principal genna is that called Herasiaba-hera-teole. The tingkhupeo is called to the house, and when he arrives he is given a dog. (Dogs are particularly pleasing to this spirit). He addresses Herakesiaba, the evil spirit responsible for illness, and sometimes also his wife, Kang-iba, (not masculine form), and asks him or them to take the offering and leave the sick man. The sick man puts a little spittle on the dog, and water is poured on it by the tingkhupeo or one of the household. The tingkhupeo then takes it, together with salt, chillies and ginger, all done up in a leaf, a chunga of zao kasang, and a brand from the fire, and a little cooked rice, and goes to the village path outside and above the village. There he kills the dog, lights a fire, and cutting the dog's stomach open, takes the liver and cooks it with the chillies and offers it with the rice and zu in the usual way. The dog's body is then thrown away in the jungle. He returns to the village and repeats the ceremony for anyone else who wants it performed. He may not perform any other one (such as the following); that must be done by one of his subordinates.