The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Village Organization Among the Central Nzemi Nagas', M.A. thesis by Ursula Betts

caption: chapter three - the Ram or village community
caption: woman's relations with the kienga
caption: clothing of girls, and hair
medium: theses
ethnicgroup: Nzemi
person: Betts/ U.V.
date: 1950
refnum: M.A. thesis, University College, London
note: footnotes indicated by boxes within square brackets
text: By the time she reaches the age of puberty a girl will have woven herself an unmarried girl's petticoat (ng-gieng-ni-na) whose pattern, derived from the flying swift, is also found in the characteristic body-cloth of the unmarried man. She also assumes a white cloth wrapped round the body and drawn tight under the armpits; she covers her head with a black or dark-blue cloth and never exposes her hair except when dancing. Up to the age of puberty her head is shaved, but after puberty she allows her hair to grow, cutting it to frame the face and letting it fall long behind. Some girls continue to shave their heads after puberty so that they may appear to marry young and avoid the stigma of a long stay unmarried in the leoseoki.