Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Nagaland

People


Food and Drink

The staple food of the Naga tribes is rice. It is generally taken with meat or vegetables. The Nagas are very fond of chillies and the Semas eat them with the greatest delight. Meat could be beef, pork and chicken. Nagas also eat mithun, dogs, cats, fish, spiders, birds, crabs - in fact almost any living thing that he can lay his hands on. Even the elephant is eaten  and is considered a delicacy. No part of the animal is wasted. Even the skin and intestines are eaten. The skin is spared only if needed for making a shield. Sometimes the meat is smoke dried and preserved for a long time. Meat and vegetables are usually cooked together. The food is generally boiled.

Certain items are considered taboo by the Nagas either because they are not clean or because they are suspected to transmit their qualities to the consumer. Most of the restrictions relate to women, and in case of items which are 'Genna' for men to take, the restriction is relaxed in respect of old people. Women are not allowed to eat monkeys lest they became extravagant. Pregnant woman was not  allowed to eat a bear, as it is regarded as a stupid animal. The tiger and the leopard are not taken because of an old belief that man, tiger and spirit were all brothers at beginning of creation.   

Rice beer is the main drink. It is generally of three kinds, Zutho, Ruhi, and Dzutse and may be taken at any time. It is nutritive in content and if hygienically prepared  is a desirable drink. It is taken by all, including the very young.