The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database
caption: footnotes
text: 14. Heramui is a potent and in many ways dangerous ceremony. The fourteen great spirits whose names are known are summoned one by one to a ceremonial feast set out as though on a table on the replica of the hazoa mound. Should an undetected error occur in the ritual one or more of the spirits may be prevented from enjoying his share in the feast and left angry and vengeful within the village perimeter. In such circumstances the spirit is likely to seize on a passer-by, causing his or her death within a few hours or days. On a day when heramui is being performed parents keep their children within doors and do not allow them out to play in the village street. To perform such a powerful and uncertain ceremony in the heart of the village would expose the inhabitants to considerable risk; hence it is relegated to a replica of the hazoa in a comparatively unfrequented spot.