The Hornbill Festival

When you are looking for something out of ordinary, something with colour and movement and authentic local customs, you should explore India during the time when regions celebrate their local festivals and fairs. This would offer you a peek into the rich heritage and cultural aspect of the land, the culture, and its people.

Tucked in the northeastern corner of India is the state of Nagaland. Rich in its tribal culture (16 major tribes call it their home) visitors can get an up close and personal feel at the annual Hornbill Festival. This unique show, organized in the state's capital city of Kohima, is named after the bird of state. The festival displays the rich tribal culture, dances and folklore of the majority of Naga tribes. The Hornbill Festival at Kisama Heritage Village, Kohima is one of India's largest tribal celebrations conceived to revive, protect and boost the Naga's heritage and tradition. Each of the 16 major tribes and many sub-tribes in the State has its way of maintaining its distinctive cultural traditions and customs, through various forms of performing arts, which are an integral part of Naga festivals.

Each of these tribal communities that dwell in the hills can be distinguished by the colourful and intricately designed costumes, jewellery and beads that its members wear. The traditional ceremonial attire of each tribe is different, and there are the multi-colored spears and darts decorated with dyed goat's hair, the headgear made of finely woven bamboo interlaced with orchid stems and adorned with boar's teeth and hornbill's feathers, and ivory armlets. In the olden days, warriors had to prove their valor if they wanted to wear these. Nagas, as these tribes are called, take pride in their rich repertory of folk dances and songs.

In spite of the tremendous advance of modernity into their lives, the Naga people have a penchant for vibrant dances and songs praising the brave deeds of ancient warriors and folk heroes, love songs that immortalize tragic love stories, gospel songs and folk tunes.

Over the years, the Hornbill Festival in December, has evolved and transformed itself into a mega-state event that includes stalls that sell food, clothes and artifacts encouraging local, regional and national entrepreneurs to participate. It also hosts a number of indigenous games like Naga acrobatics, pig-chasing, and Naga chilly (the hottest in the world!) eating competition. In addition it also hosts Rock Show of local & other National Indian band groups performing apart from organizing Fashion and Art shows and a bizarre World War II car rally.

Hornbill Programme - Click here

 
 

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