Hornbill Festival of Nagaland 2024: Unique and colorful Naga tribal dances, food, music, and folklore

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The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is a state-run event to showcase the rich culture and traditions of Nagaland in all its ethnicity and grandeur. The ten day annual event takes place every December to encourage inter-tribal interaction and preserve, protect and promote the cultural heritage of the state of Nagaland in India.

It is named after the Hornbill bird, which is displayed in the folklore of most of the tribes that inhabit the northeast Indian state of Nagaland. The festival represents all the tribal groups of the state and is a must-visit event for all travelers who wish to know more about the Nagas and their unique customs, food, songs, and dances.

According to Abraham Lotha, a Naga ethnographer, the Hornbill symbolizes all that is cherished and loved about Nagas. He writes that he can see the spirit of the hornbill in all that Nagas believe in, from the enduring love for their family and communities to their ferocious pursuit of their own path of self-determination and nationality in the face of complex socio-political situations.

For music lovers, the Hornbill Music Festival is also a must-visit event. The festival hosts some of the best musicians from across the country and abroad. The festival is not only an event that celebrates the uniqueness of Naga culture but also offers a chance to enjoy a wide variety of foods, drinks, local craft and art, besides re-connecting with nature.

Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

Why is Hornbill Festival celebrated of Nagaland?

Touted as one of the most celebrated festivals in India’s far north-eastern state, the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland celebrates the indigenous warrior tribes that make up the region. The week-long fest brings together 16 major tribes under one roof and showcases their rich culture, tradition and rituals to the world.

Started as a melange of cultural exhibitions in 2000, the festival has grown to be one of the most momentous cultural extravaganzas of Northeast India. The idea behind the celebration of this unique event is to encourage inter tribal fundamental interaction and elevate the Naga heritage.

The festival derives its name from the Hornbill, a bird that is prominently featured in the folklore of the different Naga tribes. The hornbill is believed to bring good luck and prosperity and is revered for its beauty, alertness, strength, and ability to connect humans with the divine. It is a symbol of power and spirituality in Nagaland, where the festival was first conceived.

It is held every year from December 1 to 10 in Kisama, a village located 12 km away from the state capital Kohima. The ten-day extravaganza is a platform for the different Naga tribes to showcase their culture, traditions and cuisine to a global audience.

Hornbill Festival is also known for its diverse displays of traditional art, music, dance, and crafts. The dazzling variety of handicrafts at the Hornbill Festival includes wood carving, bamboo wares, black pottery, and bone and bead jewellery. The festival also offers a taste of the delicious cuisine and enthralling folk songs that are characteristic of Nagaland.

What is the history of the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland?

The annual Hornbill Festival of Nagaland, also called the Festival of Festivals, is a cultural extravaganza that draws visitors from all over the country and the world. This kaleidoscope of music, dance and craft celebrates the rich heritage of the state’s numerous tribes. The beats of traditional drums and the graceful movements of ethnic dancers meld to form a vivid depiction of Naga culture, fostering a sense of community and unity.

This 10-day extravaganza was first held in December 2000 and has been an essential part of the state’s tourism tagline – “Land of Festivals.” The event is named after the Hornbill, a bird that holds significant spiritual value for most of the tribal communities in the state. The festival brings together tribes from all across the region, including those from Assam, Manipur and Mizoram.

Each year, the festival focuses on a different theme. For example, in 2016, it highlighted the role of women in traditional society. This was complemented by a range of activities that promoted a holistic lifestyle and emphasized the importance of family.

In addition to cultural performances, Hornbill Festival also features sporting events. Various indigenous games are played during the celebrations, including bamboo pole climbing, archery, rock pulling and spear throwing. The winners of these games receive a cash prize as well as the honor of having their names and faces displayed in the village for an entire year.

Important Rituals of the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

A visit to Nagaland isn’t just a journey to witness one of India’s most spectacular natural habitats. It’s also a chance to see the unique culture of the land. It’s here that the Hornbill Festival, a celebration of the state’s diverse tribes, takes place. The event began in 2000 and is held for a week during the start of December every year. It was primarily relaunched to boost inter-tribal fundamental interaction and elevate the culture of the state.

The festival hosts a plethora of events and activities. It’s the perfect time to visit a village and gain insights into the traditional lifestyle of the Nagas. The villagers are dressed in their finest attires and will offer a warm welcome to visitors with traditional songs and dances. The stone-pulling ceremony is a sight to behold and highlights the physical prowess of the tribesmen. Months prior to the festival, intricately carved wooden carts are constructed that will be used to transport the enormous stones.

The festival also offers immersive experiences such as wood carving, leather craft and pottery workshops where guests can create their own masterpieces under the guidance of skilled artisans. This is a great way to learn the art of crafting and acquire a deeper appreciation for the heritage of the region. It’s also a chance to connect with the locals and create lasting memories. Moreover, it’s the perfect opportunity to indulge in the traditional dishes of the Naga people such as fermented rice beer (Nag-hu) and other homely delicacies.

Hornbill Festival 2024 schedule

Tour starts :5 December 2024 in kolkata
Tour ends :15 December 2024 in Dibrugarh
Festival location :Kohima (Nagaland)
Festival Dates :1- 10 December 2024

Hornbill Festival 2024 ticket price

Festival Date1 Dec 2024 to 10 Dec 2024
Tickets PriceINR 20 – INR 30 per day. Must be bought for each of the days.
Nearest AirportDimapur Airport

FAQs

Which bird is called the Hornbill Festival?

The hornbill festival is named after the bird “hornbill”

How did the Hornbill Festival start?

The event began in 2000 and is held for a week during the start of December every year. It was primarily relaunched to boost inter-tribal fundamental interaction and elevate the culture of the state.

Hornbill festival is celebrated in which state?

The hornbill festival is celebrated in the state of Nagaland.

Hornbill festival is celebrated in which village?

Hornbill Festival is celebrated in Kisama villege.

Hornbill festival is celebrated in which month?

The Hornbill Festival is celebrated in December.

Hornbill festival is celebrated for how many days?

The hornbill festival is celebrated for 10 days.

Hornbill festival is celebrated by which tribe?

The hornbill festival is celebrated by the Naga ethnicity. 

How much does the Hornbill Festival cost?

The Hornbill Festival cost INR 20 – INR 30 per day.