The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter One. The Naga Hills
caption: peculiarities of marriage customs of Eastern Angamis
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Angami
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Passing through an Eastern Angami village one soon notices that the youngest - and naturally often the prettiest - girls, wear their hair quite closely cropped. This is a sign that they are virgins, or at least are taken for such. But the average Naga girl soon grows weary of her premarital state, her short hair, and her virginity. And since a suitable husband is not always easily found (15) she is inclined to dispense with the burdens of maidenhood by entering into one of those trial marriages which seldom last long and are usually dissolved in the most peaceful way and on the most trivial of pretexts. The young wife, now freed of all her chains, returns to her parents' house to grow her hair, and to look for a more desirable marriage partner.