Celebration of Naga Culture – The Hornbill Festival 2017

The Indian sub-continent is home to some of the most vibrant, quirky and colorful festivals like hornbill in the world. With an overall population of 1.3 billion and hundreds of festivals it is the melting pot of varied cultures and traditions. Every Indian’s approach towards each one of these festivals is of pure zeal and unadulterated energy.

North East homes the most lively and cherished festivals in all of India. One of the most highly anticipated festivals in the North eastern state of Nagaland is the hornbill festival. Nagaland accommodates some of the most indigenous and protected tribes in India and each of these tribes have a festival of their own. Being one of the smallest states in India it attracts a large number of tourists from India and abroad to witness this miraculous happening.

The hornbill festival is of great relevance to the locals and a one of its kind experience for the people attending it. It is rightfully known as the ‘festival of festivals’ and this celebration is organized by the Nagaland Government which is performed with an aim to encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote the unity among local masses. It takes place every year from 1st to 10th December and the very first hornbill festival took place in the year 2000. This gala is named after the Indian hornbill since this powerful and beautiful bird is the centre of a majority of the state’s folklore and tales.

Here is an in depth guide into the heart of this celebration of Naga culture:

1. 16 Tribes And Their 16 Mesmerizing Dances

Over 16 major tribes and several other sub tribes make Nagaland the wonder that it is. All these tribes have diverse rituals, assorted practices and yet share a surprisingly similar way of life.Each of these communities has dedicated their entire time in making life happy and comfortable for themselves and for their families. Every individual can be distinguished specifically according to their intricately designed clothes and completed with striking jewellery and beads. The hornbill festival showcases each tribe’s individuality in its full fervor.

Their tribal dances are filled with positive rhythm, high spirited energy and are often warrior rituals. The hornbill festival does a glorious job of bringing together all these traditionally diverse tribes together as one and presents themselves as a single entity.

Naga Tribes Dances - Hornbill Festival

Also Read : Top 5 Tribal Tour of India

2. Multicultural Art Displays

A pleasant place for art lovers from round the world, the hornbill festival will definitely satisfy your thirst for experiencing quality and the finest art Nagaland has to offer. This festival is also held during one of the choicest holiday time i.e. winter time. Hornbill spreads its wings and brings together all the rituals, customs and activities of the Naga tribes in the spotlight.

Traditional arts and indigenous crafts play an extremely important part in making this carnival a success. From rural games, delicious food fairs and oddly pleasant ceremonies is the heart of this festival. The paintings, wood carvings and sculpture displays are presented in complete pride and impressive vigor to the attendees.

Wooden decor hornbill festival

3. Thumping Rock Concerts

What makes this festival unique and one of a kind is the international rock concert competition held at the hornbill festival. This crown jewel of the gala is considered as a Launchpad for several new coming bands. With the prize money ranging between 30,000 rupees to 1000,000rupees the main objective of this competition is to encourage talent from all over India as well as its neighboring countries like, South East Asia and even Australia.

Their passionate love for rock n roll music is wonderfully demonstrated in this euphoria filled rock concert performances. Everyone, from the participants to the audiences not only have a great time but they also take away some of the best and unforgettable memories with them.

Rock Concerts Hornbill Festival

4. The Night Bazars

The city of Kohima comes to life during the hornbill festival’s vibrant and lively night bazaar. This is done in an attempt to bring the visitors and the participating tribes closer through their common love for food, handicrafts and the crisp winter air. This all-out fair is the happy place for families looking for a fun time out with dazzling festivities and positivity.

You can walk through the impressive shopping area; give your taste buds a treat in the food stalls and spend some peaceful time by the lantern-lighting areas. The general crowd contributes in their own way by dressing up in contemporary clothes and getting their groove on!Some of the fun activities which make the hornbill festival distinctive, unique and fun are: pork fat eating contest, chili eating contest among other crazy games.

5. Lip Smacking Food

Food lovers rejoice! The Naga food that is presented in this magical carnival is equally traditional and gives you a taste of their rich history. Usually the core ingredient for most of the dishes is red meat and fish. The traditional spices are used in their preparation making each bite burst with intense flavor. These red meats are prepared in various styles like, smoking it, drying it or even fermenting it.

Although each tribe has their conventional and particular food styles but they happily exchange their recipes with each other and promote mutual harmony. Naga food is known widely for its food being too spicy since they are producers of hot chilies, which is locally used in their preparation of foods at home.The visitors will have memories of tasting some of the most u

nique tasting and creatively prepared local dishes.

Lip Smacking Food - Hornbill Festival

Travelling Tips for Visitors

  • Being one of the most attended and top tourist attractions in Nagaland, The Hornbill festival draws a lot of tourists out from different parts of the world. Make sure all your bookings and reservations are done and confirmed in advance in order to avoid the last minute hassle and inconveniences.
  • Helpful information centres are located all around the festival site where you can get yourself a brochure that contains a list of performances and events along with other attractions in Nagaland.
  • Foreigners don’t have to worry about possessing an entry permit in order to visit Nagaland. However, they have to register themselves in the foreigner’s registration office within 24 hours of their entry into Nagaland.

Also Read : 7 Best Places to Visit in North East India

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