Nagaland, Switzerland of the East India, is blessed with a rich cultural heritage which is being passed on to the generations, unamalgamated by modernisation. Nagaland is the land of 16 tribes, each owns and follow unique culture, languages, custom and rituals. Even tribes have their own set of festivities. The festival which brings all tribes under one roof is the Hornbill festival.
Importance of Hornbill festival for Nagaland Tourism
Hornbill festival is the must watch part of Nagaland tourism.
Hornbill festival, “Festival of Festivals” is organised by the State Tourism and Arts and Culture Department, Government of Nagaland to encourage harmonious inter-tribal relationships and showcasing their cultural diversification and protecting and reviving rich age-old heritage.
Though the state bird of Nagaland is Blyth’s tragopan, an endangered spice of the pheasant but the colourful Indian Hornbill, is part of the folklore of almost all tribes of Nagaland.
Hornbill was commonly found half a century ago in the state. Unfortunately, their numbers thinned down drastically, leaving only one alive hornbill today! The only known Great Hornbill alive today in Nagaland is named ‘Julie’ which is kept at the State’s Zoo, Nagaland Zoological Park.
History of Hornbill Festival
The festival was first held in the year 2000. It is then every yearcelebrated at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, located around 12 kilometres from the capital of the Nagaland, Kohima. Kisama is an open-air museum that showcases various aspects of Naga life — from homes to morungs (or bachelor dormitories) — Kisama offers a fascinating insight into the life and culture of the various Naga tribes.
Celebrations of Hornbill Festival
Celebrations of the festival start on 1st December, commemorating status of statehood on this day. This festival is a perfect melange of cultural richness and diversity, comprise of ten days long celebration which usually culminates at 10 December. One of the largest festivals of the state, it is celebrated with full enthusiasm, traditional music, handicraft, folk dance and songs and games. Festival highlights include Traditional Naga Morungs Exhibition and sale of arts and crafts, food Stalls, herbal medicine stalls, flower shows and sales, fashion shows, Beauty Contest, traditional Archery, Naga wrestling and indigenous Games.
Evenings are made lively by the thrilling Hornbill National Rock Concert, participated by bands from all over the country and abroad. This is followed by the amazing Night Market in the town. But the most remarkable event at the festival is Naga chilly eating competition and pork eating festival which draws a lot of crowds and evokes much fanfare and excitement.