The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes on the Zemi Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: birth
caption: baby's first haircut; ear-piercing
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, ring binder 1
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: When the mother first takes the child outside the house its hair is cut by the father or any man willing to oblige and its ears are pierced. The lobe is first pinched for two or three minutes to numb it, and then pierced with a bamboo pin threaded with cotton, the cotton being pulled into the hole. If the place bleeds, a little of the mother's milk is squeezed out and dabbed on the wound as this will stop it hurting. The baby is then taken back indoors, a cock is killed and cooked, and the old woman is called. She offers cooked rice, the fowl's head and liver and zao kasang, then eats a little herself, gives some to the mother, and rubs a little on the baby's chin, saying: "Having eaten this, you will be strong an healthy".