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: stillbirths or death during infancy
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, ring binder 1
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: If the child is still-born or dies at birth or before it has been taken out of the house, it is buried inside the house by an old woman, without any ceremony, and the same thing happens if it dies after it has been taken out, but before the next new moon; but if the parents have lost several children in extreme infancy, they may bury it with full ceremonies, as this will ensure the survival of the next child. If it lives until the next new moon, unless that falls within a few days of the day it was first taken out, it is a 'person' and a member of the community, and is buried with the proper ceremonies, a mithan being killed if the parents can afford it.
text: It should be noted that while for convenience 'the day the child was first taken out' is constantly referred to, that the day's importance lies in all the acts and ceremonies performed, and not in the taking-out alone.