Oral Tradition

Surinamese Children's Songs Are a Reminder of Slavery

Faya Siton, meaning hot stone, is an old song from Suriname that is sung during a specific children’s game. Children sit in a circle and pass on a stone – in reality often a pit – and rub it on the ground so that it turns hot. While cheerful the song is about Master Jan from Holland who brands people and kills children. The lyrics go “Faya siton, no bron miso, no bron miso. Agen masra Jantji e kir sma pikin”, which means “Hot stone, do not burn me so, do not burn me so. Master Jan has killed someone’s child again.”

The Introduction of African Rice in Suriname

Genetic research into rice from the inlands of Suriname draws attention to the history of West Africans who were deported as slaves to this former Dutch colony. While there are many grains of Asian rice, Surinamese black rice, ‘Blaka aleisi’, turned out to be almost identical to rice farmed by Mande-speaking farmers in West Ivory Coast according to research by Tinde van Andel. This rice was rarely eaten but instead was sacrificed to ancestors and used in spiritual herbal baths.

Orality

Nagaland is home to nearly two million people consisting of 16 constituent major tribes that speak over 89 dialects (mostly mutually unintelligible between two tribes) and are without a common language and script.

According to the most famous legend regarding the Naga script, it was given to the people on animal skin which, when nobody was looking, was eaten by a dog leading to the script being lost forever. Certain variations to the legend also claim that the Assamese script was given on stone for which it endured as against the Naga script on animal hide which perished.

Legendary Folktale Behind the Origin of the Ao Tribe

Out of 16 recognised tribes of Nagaland, the Aos are considered as the second largest ethnic group. Chungliyimti, the watershed village in Nagaland holds the symbolic significance behind the legendary folk tale of the ancestry of the Aos. It is believed that the ancestors of the first tribe to embrace Christianity in Nagaland ; i.e the Aos emerged from the six stones which are still in the village of Chungliyimti.

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