The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes on the Zemi Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: Le-hera genna: a sickness genna for removing evil spirits from the village
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: 8th Day: Poa-pat-peng-ngi.
text: In the morning, after the morning meal, all food and drink in the house is put out of doors and left for the old men and children to finish at their leisure. The old women gather at a convenient house and the gaonburas take them zu and a hen as a recompense for the zu they have brewed for the Dekachang. Each old woman has brewed one potful. The old women go singing to a house where a child has been born since last year's genna, and sing a song in praise of the child, prophesying beauty, success and good fortune for it. The father gives them money according to his means, usually between eight annas and Rs 2/-.
text: Meantime the men who are to cut the bamboos for the morrow have been chosen. They must remain chaste that night, the ban being lifted for the remainder of the village. The bamboo-fetchers go to the house where the old women are gathered, and after they have been given some zu, they go to the jungle escorted by bucks carrying shields and spears and others who are to carry the bamboo back again. The armed guards were necessary in the old days, and the custom has been maintained. Sound and perfect bamboos are chosen, and as the men are cutting them they say: "I am cutting you. I want to ask you about the future. If you tell lies, all your kind will dies; if you tell the truth, your king will be very many". Five or six bamboos are cut and carried back, and left outside and below the village.
text: Small boys may eat their evening meal with their mothers if they like, but if so, they may not drink the zu specially prepared for the festival.