~Siddharth Katragadda : “The Greatness Of A Culture Can Be Found In It’s Festivals.”
The Hornbill Festival is a celebration held every year from 1 – 10 December, in Nagaland, Northeast India. It is also called the ‘Festival of Festivals’. Organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments, the Hornbill Festival showcases assortment of cultural displays under one roof.
The Hornbill Festival is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival. The aim of the festival is to fortify and shield the profuse culture of Nagaland and display its spectacular and traditions.
The week-long festival unites one and all in Nagaland and people enjoy the colourful performances, crafts, sports, food fairs, games and ceremonies. Traditional arts which include paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures are also on display.
Festival highlights include the traditional Naga Morungs exhibition and the sale of arts and crafts, food stalls, herbal medicine stalls, flower shows and sales, cultural medley – songs and dances, fashion shows, the Miss Nagaland beauty contest, traditional archery, Naga wrestling, indigenous games, and musical concert.
The Hornbill Festival provides a colourful mixture of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs and religious ceremonies. The festival both exposes the culture and tradition of tribal peoples, and reinforces Nagaland’s identity as a unique state in India’s federal union.
Traditional arts are also featured, with paintings, wood carvings and sculptures by modern Naga artists on display. Naga troupes sing folk songs, perform traditional dances and play indigenous games and sports. In the evenings a programme of music concerts, catering for all tastes, ensures that the festive spirit continues through the night. One of the major highlights of this festival is the Hornbill International Rock Festival, which is held at Indira Gandhi Stadium; local and international rock bands perform.
The Hornbill Festival has contributed significantly to enhancing the state’s tourism brand. Tourism promoters believe that the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland allows tourists to have an insight into the different tribes of Nagaland. It fosters understanding of the rich cultural heritage of the state, its resourceful architecture and its ethnic cuisine.