Spirit of Unity
Nagaland is a mountainous state in northeast India, bordering Myanmar, known as a land of festivals, with each of the many tribes celebrating numerous festivals throughout the year. Every year for 10 days, 1st – 10th December, Nagaland celebrates a very special festival the Hornbill festival, named in reverence to the bird enshrined in the cultural ethos of the Nagas to espouse the spirit of unity in diversity.
A Weeklong Medley
What has emerged from a local heritage event, transformed into a national and international festival has now become a must visit and notable attraction in the travel itineraries of both domestic and international travellers. A weeklong medley of cultural performances, indigenous games, craft bazaar, music events, fashion, cycling, motor sporting, events, a kids carnival, floral regalia, food courts, film festival and a series of competitions in various activities.
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Each of the many tribes in Nagaland has their own festivals and celebrations, customs, traditions, and methods of maintaining them. Each tribe has their own colourful costumes and jewellery, by which they are clearly distinguishable. Most festivals revolve around agriculture, the main source of income for the population. Attendance is compulsory, as the festivals are considered sacred.
The Hornbill festival was created, to give all the different tribes a platform to showcase their traditions and bring all the festivals under one umbrella, as well as to encourage inter-tribal interaction. The festival aims to protect the rich diversity of unique traditions, dances and rituals. It takes place at Naga Heritage Village called Kisama, about 12 km from Kohima. Nagaland offers an unbelievable range of cultural traditions to its visitors and at Hornbill festival, they all come together for a great show of the best, most vibrant and colourful displays and performances.
Majestic Log Drums
Some Naga communities have their majestic log drums where male members intermittently beat the gigantic hollowed log with wooden beaters in perfect synchronisation. Long before the age of modern communications, the Nagas devised indigenous methodologies of relaying messages by beating different tempos and arrangements to send out messages decipherable only to the village members. As you hear the sound reverberate throughout Kisama it hypnotically draws you in search of the source.
Why is it called the Hornbill festival?
The name was chosen as a tribute to the Hornbill bird which Naga people admire for its alertness and grandeur. In many songs and folklore tales, it is evident that this bird plays an important role in Naga culture.
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