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: Thendu prohibitions; girls' lead earrings exchanged for brass ones with parental permission
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York75:2
text: Among the Konyaks of the Thendu group, the relations between the unmarried were subject to some rules unknown in Wakching. In Oting, for instance, it was left to a girl's parents to decide when the time had come for her to take a lover. Until then she wore leaden earrings, and this was a signal to the village boys that she was not yet ready for amorous adventures. Nevertheless, a boy might discretely inquire from her parents whether he would be acceptable as a suitor. If they indicated consent, he would occasionally give small gifts to his prospective bride. Although he was considered her betrothed, he was not yet supposed to sleep with the girl. Only when she was seventeen or eighteen would her parents allow her to exchange her leaden earrings for earrings of brass. At the same time her father partitioned off a small room, and there she received her lovers. If she was already betrothed, she was expected to reserve her favors for her fiance, but even an uncommitted girl was not supposed to change her lovers too often or to have love affairs with two young men simultaneously. Fleeting adventures with guests from other villages were not disapproved of, for such entertainment of guests was considered part of hospitality.