KOHIMA, DECEMBER 1 (DIPR): The Hornbill Festival began its 17th edition at Naga Heritage village, Kisama on today, coinciding with the Nagaland Statehood Day.
Nagaland Governor, PB Acharya thanked the pioneers of the State who had sacrificed for the people of Nagaland during the early years of Statehood. He said festivals are an ideal way to revive the rich cultural heritage of the Naga people. It promotes the tourism industry and thereby the quality of infrastructure in the state would improve, he added. Stating that the Naga people treat other people with respect and with a sense of forgiveness, he asked tourists to make use of the best facilities and go home with sweet memories.
Nagaland Chief Minister, TR Zeliang while delivering the welcome address greeted the people of Nagaland on the occasion of the 53rd Statehood Day. The Chief Minister said the Naga people are determined to preserve the rich culture and tradition which he described as the hallmark of our identity. He also added that Nagaland being considered as geographically isolated from mainland would soon be a thing of the past with the coming up of Look East Policy and with Hornbill Festival being recognized internationally.
The Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal who was the guest of honour said that he was honoured to be a part of Hornbill Festival. He said it was a great opportunity for the people of the North East in general and the Nagas in particular to showcase the rich culture and tradition of the North East people.
He expressed hope that the Hornbill Festival would bring closer understanding within the people of Nagaland where every tribe can showcase their unique culture and tradition. He also mentioned about the cordial relationship maintained between Assam and Nagaland during the Ahom Kingdom.
Earlier in the morning, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi extended greetings to the people of Nagaland on Statehood Day. “Statehood Day wishes to people of Nagaland, a state known for scenic beauty and talented citizens who will take it to new heights of progress”, the Prime Minister said in a message on twitter.
Traditional blessing for the festival was offered by Guru Sangyusang Pongener of Ungma village while inaugural celebrations of ‘Unity in Culture’ were presented by various groups.
Sr Pastor, Baptist Mission Church, Kohima, Rev. Moa Longchari invoked God’s blessing while Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism and Host of the Hornbill festival, C Apok Jamir proposed the vote of thanks. Organised by the Nagaland State Government, the Hornbill Festival is an annual tourism promotional event to showcase Nagaland’s traditional and rich cultural heritage in all its ethnicity, diversity and grandeur.
It is a collaborative celebration of all Naga Tribes at one venue and has been coined as the ‘Festival of Festivals’. The Festival is a tribute to the Hornbill, which is the most admired and revered bird for the Nagas, for its qualities of alertness and grandeur. The majestic bird is closely identified with the social and cultural life of the Nagas as reflected in various tribal folklores, dances and songs. The awe and admiration for the bird is symbolically displayed on almost all tribal traditional headgears worn during the Festivals and is indicative of the unity of the Nagas.
The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is a cultural extravaganza to revive, protect and preserve the richness and uniqueness of the Naga heritage, while for the visitors to this event it is a means for a comprehensive understanding of Naga People, their land and culture. Over the years, this event has gained in stature and scale. It has now become a unique platform for the tourists to witness the cultural diversity not only of the Nagas but the seven other sister states of the North East.
ties with Nagaland
KISAMA, DECEMBER 1 (UNI): Underlining the age old ties between the Assamese and Naga people, Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal today said that both Nagaland and Assam must work hand in hand to usher rapid development of Northeast region.
While speaking at the inaugural function of Hornbill Festival at Kohima, Sonowal commended the Nagaland government for developing the Hornbill Festival as a perfect platform to encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of Nagaland.
Attending the Festival as a Guest of Honour at the invitation of his Nagaland counterpart TR Zeliang, Sonowal said through the Hornbill Festival Nagaland has opened its doors to the world providing the tourists with an opportunity to experience the food, songs, dances and customs of Nagaland.
While referring to the historic ties between Naga and Assamese people, Sonowal said Ahom Prince Godapani who took shelter in Naga Hills while hiding himself from Lalukhula Burphukan, stayed for some time in some Ao Villages, proceeding to Phom and Konyak areas and married a Konyak girl named “Watlong”, popularly known as Dalimi in Assam.
“During even the Burmese invasion of Assam, the Ao Nagas, true to their tradition stood solidly by the side of the Ahoms and these incidents prove close relationship between the Assamese and Naga people,” Sonowal said.
Saying that Assam and Nagaland share a common goal towards people centric development, Chief Minister Sonowal said that both states must work together for mutual growth in the true spirit of “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikash” and take full advantage of Prime Minister Modi’s Act East Policy to drive the North East towards faster growth trajectory.
In order to tackle issues like illegal migration, life and security to the people of both the states, resolving border issues, both Nagaland and Assam would have to give impetus to increased people to people contact and facilitate confidence building measures, Sonowal said.
“I am hopeful and confident that the cultural mosaic of Hornbill Festival will further boost our age-long ties and foster peaceful co-existence,” Sonowal said.