The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is one of the biggest cultural extravaganzas in the North East. It is a week-long event held every year from Dec1-10 in Nagaland. The Hornbill Festival is a festival to revive, protect, sustain, and promote the richness of the Naga heritage and traditions.
It is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the Nagas. During the Hornbill Festival, all the Naga tribes come together for a week-long celebration of their cultural and traditional plight. It’s a time where all these tribes gather up to showcase their age-old traditions and come closer to knowing each other. The main events of the festival take place at the Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 10kms from Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland. Traditional Naga huts and Morungs (boy’s dormitories) typical to each of the Naga tribes are built and erected in a way that closely resembles their traditional euphoria on a small hillock in Kisama. The place itself is scenic and mystical, and the festival is simply epic!
The Hornbill Festival celebrations are marked with a colorful display of traditional dances, sports, and songs of the various Naga tribes. Cultural dances, indigenous sports, and folk songs are the main highlights of the first 3 days of the festival. And one can get to see a colorful and vibrant celebration of a culture that’s so mystic and intriguing. The warrior log drums, the colorful headgear, the soulful war cry, the exquisite costumes et al are simply remarkable in their own ways. Delicious local cuisines and delicacies that are typical to each of the Naga tribes are served in their respective Morungs along with the finest rice beer. The amazing food simply makes it a gastronomic festival.
The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland, over the years, has evolved from being just a celebration of the culture and tradition of the Nagas into one big cultural event for all the 8 Northeast States. Cultural troupes from all the northeastern states participate during this week-long celebration and it is such a delight watching all the different cultures coming together under one roof. It is a great time to experience the cultural diversity of North East India on a go.
The Hornbill Festival is not just about reliving past, it is also a celebration of the present. The biggest Rock Festival of the country is hosted at Kohima every year during this festival. It is believed that singing and dancing is a way of life and comes naturally to the Nagas. And the biggest rock event is no doubt a part of the vibrant Hornbill celebrations. Apart from this, an adventure car rally and various other contest and events are organized during this festival. Some interesting events during the festival are – the Pork eating contest, the King Chilly eating contest etc.
The Kohima Night Bazaar is also an interesting aspect of the Hornbill Festival. The stretch of the Kohima Main town comes alive for 7 nights with food, music, and fun. The street is overcrowded with various food stalls serving out some of the finest delicacies and it’s simply amazing walking through the hustle-bustle.
Main events/highlights of the Hornbill Festival:
1. Cultural events spread throughout the festival highlighting traditional dances, music, indigenous games
2. King Chilly Eating Contest
3. Port Fat Eating Contest
4. The Hornbill Rock Festival
5. North East Cultural Ensemble
6. Hornbill Adventure Rally
7. The Kohima Night Bazaar
8. World War Peace Rally
The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is a celebration of the past and the present. It is a cultural extravaganza that not only celebrates the tribal way of life but also bridges the gap between generations and revives and strengthens human bonds. It is a magical experience in itself.
The Hornbill Festival is an amazing opportunity to experience a variety of cultural food, handicrafts, songs, dances and customs of Nagaland. The week long festival is attended by all the major tribes of Nagaland. The festivities begin by nine in the morning each day. The festival takes place amidst perfect replicas of tribal hutments with wood carvings and hollow log drum instruments, which are played in a memorable symphony at the end of the day. The main attraction of the Hornbill festival is the Hornbill National Rock Concert after sundown. Bands from all across the country come to compete in the concert. The concert is followed by a night market.
The Hornbill Festival highlights comprise of the Traditional Naga Morungs Exhibition and sale of Arts and Crafts, Cultural Medley - songs and dances, Traditional Archery, Indigenous Games, Naga wrestling, Herbal Medicine Stalls, Food Stalls, Flower shows and sales, Beauty Contest, Fashion shows and Musical concert. Traditional arts are also displayed with paintings, sculptures and wood carvings by contemporary Naga artists are on display. The evening music concerts ensure that the festive spirit carries on throughout the night.