The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes taken by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: Kabui feasts of merit: Valudungna and Tarangkai
medium: notes
person: Kaitanzung
ethnicgroup: Kabui
location: Majulon (Majuron)
date: 1.1939
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, folder 3
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: Social gennas. Feasts of Merit.
text: 1.Kabui: Valudungna.
text: Manipuri: yu hongba.
text: The money equivalent is Rs. 300/- and it can only be celebrated in January, - Majuron, or one of their villages celebrated it on the 7th day before I arrived. It involves a feast, and dancing, I believe before the giver's house. The dance is one special to the occasion and not done at other times.
text: The following description was given me later by the man who performed it. It last 7 days.
text: 1st day: Fuel if collected, and in the evening zu is brewed.
text: 2nd day: The zu is drunk, all and sundry, being guests; in this case Kokadang (the next village) the Chirus of Charoi Khulen, and so on.
text: 3rd day: Rice cakes are eaten by the village of the man celebrating the feast. They are supplied by him and made by his family.
text: 4th day: Two pigs are killed in the morning, and eaten that night.
text: 5th day: Dancing begins outside the celebrant's house and goes on till morning. (This was the part of the feast celebrated the day before I arrived).
text: 6th day: Dancing stops. A pig is killed in the morning and eaten in the evening.
text: 7th day: Dancing starts again. I was invited to see it. (See diary for Jan. 9th). The dance peculiar to the occasion is that in which the married woman dances with the leisabis and young men. She dances in the middle of the line, with a couple of girls on each side of her, and young men at the end of the line. I was later told that she was the wife of Kaitanzung's younger brother, and that he was doing the feast in her honour. During the "party" I was told that the public part of the dancing was over, and that after refreshments the girls would go on to dance in front of the morung; but in the cold light of day, this was denied. The original version is probably right, as he also denied, until reminded I had seen it, that a married woman had been dancing.
text: 2. Kabui: Tarangkai.
text: The greatest feast, worth Rs. 1,000/-. A Majuron man celebrated it 5 years ago. It is held in the summer, and every conceivable form of food is provided, with much liquor. A special dance is performed at this too.
text: Tarangkai is the term given to the painted house and is also applied to the feast. A whole new house is built, and the front is covered with paintings; Kaitanzung's had the almost- obliterated figure of what was probably a European, by the door; a band of ornament topped with pipe-smoking heads along the top of the boarding, more below, and in between broad bands speckled with various figures, mithan, snake, turtle, Manipuri riders, trees with monkeys in and odd-looking discs - said to represent the moon, all carried out in white chalky paint like whitewash (background) and red pigment made of earth.
text: 1st day: The big front post is cut out in the jungle and brought in, and the workers are entertained on a pig killed in the morning.
text: 2nd day: Planks for the house-front are collected and painted by the people from the same village. (The standard of drawing, though primitive, was fairly high.) During these two days the entire house seems to have been put up.
text: 3rd day: A mithan is killed and eaten in the evening.
text: 4th day: Dancing begins and goes on until morning.
text: 5th day: Kaitanzung entertained the village on one pig. Dancing stops.
text: 6th day: The young men and girls dance. Kaitanzung gave them Rs. 5/- as bakhsheesh.
text: 7th day: The old men and women dance - an unusual feature - Kaitanzung gave them Rs. 5/-.