Nagaland – at a Glance
Nagaland is one of the “seven sisters” of the North-East India. It is one of the smaller hill states of India, it is known for its large population of tribes with their rich culture and traditions and colourful festivals.
Nagaland is a culural state where different types of community have different culure and festivals. Each community celebrates their colourful festivals according to the agrarian calendar that makes Nagaland as, a land of festivals. "NAGALAND HORNBILL FESTIVAL: FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS" is a celebration of the colour and vibrant elements of all the tribal festivities and give a picture of Naga and cultural sensibilities. This local heritage event has become a national and international festivals and also now become a must visit event and unique attraction in the travel industry.
Why it is celebrated
Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is named after the Great Indian Hornbill. Folklore in Nagaland represents the hornbill. Hornbill is central to the Naga tradition finding symbolic representations in their faith and costumes. One of the tales relate how a Naga youth, unable to bear his step-mother’s ill-treatment, turned into a Hornbill and took to wings promising to be in his village every year. During such fights the youth came across two of his past beloveds who are now married. Seeing his beloveds the man-hornbill plucked two feathers from his body and presented a feather to each of them. The man-hornbill flew away never to return but his gifts to his beloveds made their way into headgears as they kept dancing elegantly as human crowns at yearly held festivals for posterity’s recognition of a tradition and the enjoyment it gave to man and his community.
The main aim of the festival is to rejuvenate and protect the culture of Nagaland and display its cultural values and traditions.
Hornbill represents or shows nobility – beauty and bravery and because of its roar-like call, its strength is believed to be equal to that of a tiger. It is also a symbol of fertility for reproductive and agricultural.
The Hornbill Festival takes place between the 1st December, which is the Nagaland Formation Day, till the 7th of December. It is coducted annually. Because of its grand success and ability in attracting more number of tourists from across India and abroad, the Hornbill Festival has been extended for another three days which is, till the 10th of December.
Hornbill festival is conducted to encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of Nagaland, the Government of Nagaland organizes the Hornbill Festival every year in the first week of December. It is organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments, Hornbill Festival showcases different types of cultural displays in one patform. This festival takes place between the 1st and the 10th of December every year in Kohima.
Where it is celebrated
The feastival is held at Naga Village which is Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland used to take part in this festival.
How to reach
By Air: Airport is in Dimapur, serviced by major airlines (Indigo & Air India). The city is linked to Kolkata by air. Tourists have to travel to kohima from dimapur by road which will take hardly 2 and half hours.
By Road: The state capital Kohima is linked to Shillong and Guwahati, Eastern India. First travel to Dimapur and then to Kohima.
By Rail: Dimapur is the major railway station, which is linked to Guwahati.
What one can expect in this festival
For visitors or tourists it is an opportunity for closer understanding the people and diverse culture of Nagaland, and a great opportunity to experience Naga food which is no less varied, as are the songs, dances and customs of the place. This great festival is a paradise for a foodie, particularly if one is a non- vegetarian. Nagas mainly love to feast and feed guests, and at Kisama one can try different kinds of traditional food and also watch how they r preparing during the Hornbill Festival days. Tourists are welcomed warmly to the traditional huts of tribe which depicts respective traditions. Visitors who are interested can also interact with the village tribe. They also can take part in various events such as Naga chilly eating, pork eating and traditional games and other traditional competitions.
How it is celebrated
The 10 days festival unites everyone in Nagaland and people enjoy the colourful performances, crafts, sports, food fairs, games and ceremonies. They sing folk songs, perform their traditional dances and play unique and thrilling games and sports. Traditional arts include paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures are also on display. Festival highlights include Traditional Naga Exhibition and sale of Arts and Crafts, Food Stalls, Herbal Medicine Stalls, Flower shows and sales, Cultural Medley – songs and dances, Fashion shows, Beauty Contest, Traditional Archery, Naga wrestling, various other attractive Games. There will be a music concert competition in the evening, which will like by every kind of people, so that the festive spirit continues through the night. The major attractive of this festival is the Hornbill International Rock Festival which is held at Indira Gandhi Stadium where local and international rock bands perform.
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