The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Five. Heathens and Baptists
caption: curious attack by missions on Feasts of Merit
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Ao
location: Chantongia
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Similarly, the Feasts of Merit, forbidden by the missionaries, fulfilled an extremely important social and economic function. To rise in the social scale an Ao had to give a series of feasts, defined by custom in every detail and necessitating the expenditure of large quantities of food stuff. For among the Aos a man did not gain social prestige by merely possessing wealth, but only by spending it for the benefit of the community. The ambition to out do their neighbours in the giving of Feasts of Merit stimulated the rich to produce rice beyond the requirements of their household and to rear mithan, buffaloes and pigs for slaughter.