When is it celebrated?
- The 10-day long Hornbill festival will start in Kisama, Nagaland from December 1, 2016. This date also marks the Naga Statehood Day.
- For the first time, it was held in the year 2000. Since then it is held in the first week of December every year.
Why is it named so?
- It is named after the Great Indian Hornbill which is greatly admired by the Naga people for its beauty, alertness and magnificence.
- The bird finds mention in the various tribal folklore, dances and songs of the Nagas.
Where does the Hornbill Festival takes place?
- The festival is held at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, not too far away from Kohima, the capital city.
- The Naga Heritage Village is a microcosm of each of the Naga tribes.
Importance of the Festival
- The Nagas are traditionally known for their kind and friendly nature.
- Tourists are given a warm welcome to the traditional huts, called Morung, of each tribe where they can sit with the elderly people of the tribe and can share stories. The younger members of the tribe act as translators in English.
- There are 17 different tribes in Nagaland. They can be differentiated by their traditional attire, food and folk dances.
- It is an annual event to promote tourism and showcases Nagaland’s rich cultural diversity and traditions. It aims to revive and protect the same.
- The Hornbill Festival displays a mixture of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs and religious ceremonies.
- The festival also reinforces Nagaland’s identity as a unique state in India.
- The festival attracts a large number of tourists and has gained tremendous popularity over the years.This has led to its extension from 7 days till the year 2013 to 10 days as of now.
- It is celebrated by all Naga tribes at the same place and is known as the ‘Festival of festivals’.
- Various competitions take place during the festival ranging from Naga wrestling, chilli eating competition, traditional fire making competition and others.
- To preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Nagas, to bring unity among the Naga tribes and to augment tourism in the region led to the idea of celebrating the Hornbill Festival.
- The lighting of the traditional bonfire takes place on the last day of the event and a unity dance is performed by all the tribes.