The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Three. Phases of Life
caption: betrothal; gifts; cousin marriage infrequent
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York74:4
text: Once the boy and girl were agreed, the boy asked an older man of his clan to act as go-between and obtain the consent of the girls' parents. Through this go-between he sent them a spear and an arm ring, and if these gifts were accepted, the young couple were considered betrothed. Sometimes betrothals were arranged by the parents at a time when the boy and girl were still immature, and in such cases the boy's father sent the arm ring and spear to the girl's parents. Since every marriage involved the establishment of economic ties between the two families, wealthy people had an interest in finding spouses of equally wealthy background for their children. Yet, the predilections of the young often confounded such plans, and boys and girls betrothed in childhood could break their engagements and marry partners of their own choice. Although cross-cousins were considered suitable mates, and a man could marry both his mother's brother's and his father's sister's daughter, concrete cases of cross- cousin marriages were few.