Inside the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

The Nagaland Hornbill festival is celebrated every year between 1 st & 10 th of December in Kohima in the North Eastern Indian state of Nagaland. It was started by the state Government of Nagaland in the year 2000 with an aim to revive & preserve the traditions of the native Nagaland people, the Nagas, & also to promote better communication & interaction among the many tribes.

The Indian Hornbill is a large & colorful forest bird. This bird is very significant in the folklore of most of the tribes of Nagaland people & is also considered sacred by many. Hence, the festival for their development was named after the bird.

The Nagaland Hornbill festival lasts for a week. The festival brings together not only the tribes but people of conflicting cultures, religions & regions from all parts of the country to unite them in a gala of dance, music & enjoyment. The week long celebration includes various dances by the natives, arts, sports, foods, games, fashion, parades & religious ceremonies.

Celebrating the Naga Festivals

Traditional arts are highlighted. Paintings, sculptures & wood carvings portraying the traditional art styles of the Nagaland people are displayed & sold, leading to a great cultural exchange which becomes an asset for all involved.

Music performances include not only folk & native music but cater to everyone’s tastes. The State Tourism & Art & Culture Departments often invite reputed local, national & international rock bands to perform at the festival. Every year a new band or a new set of artists are called upon to constitute the artist line up. This ends up becoming one of the major highlights of the festival. Even people who are not intrigued by art, culture & dance turn up at the festival to watch the bands perform live.

Camping facilities are made available & visitors often stay in the vicinity of the fairgrounds at the campsites. These campsites are set up & managed by local tour operators of Nagaland.

In today’s modern world, where most traditional arts are dying out, the Nagaland Hornbill festival assumes utmost importance. These valuable arts are an important part of the cultural wellness of any country in the world. The festival is a successful attempt on part of the Indian Government to save & preserve an integral part of the country’s rich & diverse heritage.

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