The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : 'Konyak Nagas' by Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, (1969)

caption: Chapter One. The Material Background
caption: ceremonial first sowing of the rice; women go to the fields
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York32:1
text: In the middle of January the sowing of the rice was formerly initiated. A man of the lineage of the village founder took the seed of all the six varieties of rice grown by Konyaks and sowed them in a specially prepared small patch of his own field. This ritual first sowing was preceded by the sacrifice of a chicken and a prayer for good crops was addressed to Gawang, the sky god. As he scattered the seed, the "first sower" prayed that the "rice plants might grow well and be unharmed by weeds" and that "the beaks of birds and the mouths of rats and mice should be closed." On the same day the village chief sowed rice on his field, and it was only after these ceremonial sowings had been completed that other villagers could begin to sow their own rice. At that time men and women carrying baskets of seed rice would set out for their fields, with a flowering branch of a peachlike fruit tree stuck in the grain.