To encourage inter-tribal interactions, communication, harmony and to promote the cultural heritage of the State of Nagaland in India, the Government of Nagaland organizes the ‘Festival of Festivals ~ the Hornbill Festival’ every year in the first week of December mostly starting from the 1st of December which is also the Nagaland formation day. ‘The ‘Festival of Festivals ~ the Hornbill Festival’ , is a celebration of the traditions, rituals, arts, crafts, dance and the spirit of Nagamese society. The State of Nagaland is the abode to several tribes which have their own distinct festivals. More than 60% of the population of Nagaland depends on Agriculture related activities and therefore most of their festivals revolve around the agricultural cycle. The Nagas in general considers their festivals sacred and so participation in these festivals is pretty essential.
The Hornbill Festival is unique as it is named after a bird species ‘The Indian Hornbill’, a large and colorful forest bird which is displayed in the folklore in most of the states’ tribes. Organised by the State tourism and Arts & Culture Department the Hornbill Festival showcases a melange of cultural displays under one roof.
The Hornbill Festival is held at the Naga Heritage Village of ‘Kisama’ which is about 12 kilometers from Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in the Hornbill festival. The aim of the Hornbill Festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza and traditions. The purpose of the Heritage village is to conserve all the ethnic cultural heritages by establishing a common holistic management approach. The heritage complex consists of a cluster of seventeen heritage dormitories called ‘Morung’ (traditional Naga Hut) which are constructed in indigenous, distinctive and significant architectural models. The complex comprises of the main stage, World War II museum, the bamboo heritage hall, A Bamboo pavilion, The Bamboo craft Centre, The Bamboo Info Park, Kids Carnival, Horti-Space, Amphitheatre, Food Courts, Artist Corner, Prince Andrews’ Monolith, Media Center, Medical Center & ATM and Theheba Resort.
For visitors it means a closer understanding of the people and culture of Nagaland, and an opportunity to experience of food, songs dance and costumes of Nagaland.
The week-long Hornbill festival unites one and all in Nagaland and people enjoy the colorful performances, crafts, sports, food, fairs etc.
The Hornbill festival highlights includes the traditional ‘Naga Mornings’, exhibition and sale of arts and crafts, traditional food stalls, herbal medicine stalls, flower shows and sales, cultural medley songs and dances, fashion shows, beauty contests, traditional archery, Naga wrestling, indigenous games and music concerts. The Hornbill festival also provides a colorful mixture of dance performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs and religious ceremonies. The festival both exposes the culture and traditions of the tribal people and reinforces Nagaland’s Identity as a unique state in India.
Alike Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland is another proud possessor of diverse multi-ethnicity of local tribes which collectively exhibit their rich inherited cultural legacy in the Hornbill festival through the folksongs, dances, paintings, woodcarvings and sculptures, hunting skills, ethnic food fairs, etc. attracting thousands of Indian and foreign tourists to the very existence of their tribal civilization. The cultural showcase of the 17 Major Naga Tribes namely— Ao, Angami, Chang, Konyak, Lotha, Sumi, Chakhesang, Khiamniungan, Dimasa, Kachari, Phom, Rengma, Sangtam, Yimchunger, Kuki, Zeme-Liangmai (Zeliang) Pochury and Rongmei as well as sub-tribes, with each one unique in character with its own distinct customs, language and dress it is evident that one can enjoy the diverse tribal social structure. Some of the most extravagant traditional activities are the Hornbill dance, in the name of the Hornbill Bird and is perceived after closely imitating the movements of the bird by the Naga tribes. The greased bamboo Poll Climbing is a popular game among all the Naga Tribes, representative participation of each tribe are allowed to climb a ten feet tall bamboo poll greased with pork fat, splashing mud to create friction to make it easier to climb the pole. Another popular traditional sport is the meat kicking activity, the participants indulge in spinning their tops during which the time keeper arranged by the Department of Tourism starts and stops the watch when the top touches. Later, he stops the watch when the top stops spinning. Then the traditional fire making is another indigenous sporting event which is arranged for the participants who compete among themselves to light a fire with a wooden handle, sliced bamboo, cotton, millet straw and thatch without any use of chemical substances. Moreover the test of might is traditionally experienced in the events like the Naga Wrestling with no category of weight, age bar etc. and is open to all in the form of Knock Out. The most anticipate and appraised competition organised annually is open to all with free entry and a special category for the tourists which is called the Naga King Chilli eating contest. (Beware Naga Chilli is considered as one of the hottest Chilli in the word with 1.04 million Scoville Heat Units.) Half marathon for 21 Kms for both men and women, Pork Fat eating contest, Hornbill Snooker Championship, Adventure sports such as rappelling, Monkey crawling, Beam balancing, River Crossing, tent pitching is also organised. The Hornbill International Motor Rally organised in Time/Speed/ Distance format on a non-cumulative basis promotes adventure and motor sports in Nagaland. The Word War II rally commemorates the Battle of Kohima to spread the message of World Peace. Hornbill Cycle Rally, Hornbill Art Festival, The Hornbill Music Festival, Fashion Shows and beauty pageant, The Naga Rock Pulling Contest, Hornbill Global Film Festival, Hornbill Literature Fest, Hornbill International Photo Contest, Footloose- The Dance competition, The Hornbill Chef are some of the most popular activities at the Hornbill Festival.
So why wait?! Plan your visit to the ‘Festival of Festivals ~ the Hornbill Festival’ at Kisama Heritage Village, Kohima, the State of Nagaland, Incredible India!
Phone: +91 7086009708