‘A testament of the enduring spirit of our people and deep-rooted traditions’

Ukha Cultural troupe, from Mon district, beating on a log drum during the opening day of the 24th Hornbill Festival 2023 on December 1. (Photo Courtesy: airnews_kohima@X/formerly Twitter)

Ukha Cultural troupe, from Mon district, beating on a log drum during the opening day of the 24th Hornbill Festival 2023 on December 1. (Photo Courtesy: airnews_kohima@X/formerly Twitter)

24th edition of Hornbill Festival kicks off

Morung Express News
Kohima | December 1

As the 24th edition of the Hornbill Festival kicked off at Kisama on December 1, Governor La Ganesan said the festival is not just a celebration but a testament to the enduring spirit of ‘our’ people and their deep-rooted traditions.

As the chief host of the 24th edition of the Hornbill Festival 2023 which was kick off this evening in a grand ceremony held at Kisama, The Naga Heritage Village, he welcomed all the guests stating “I am immensely honoured to open the gates to an enchanting world where culture dances through the tapestry of time, and tradition embraces modernity with grace.”

Ganesan said the festival is more than just a showcase of rich Naga culture but an open invitation to the world and welcoming all to immerse themselves in the warm embrace of Naga hospitality, to witness the warriors dance, to hear the ancient folk songs resonate, and to gaze upon the intricate weaves of our traditional attire.

“The Hornbill Festival is not just a convergence of various artistic expressions; it is a testament to the living traditions and memories of our people, kept alive through the pulsating beats of log drums, the lyrical tunes of folk singers, and the intricate footwork of our dancers” he stated.

Welcoming the guests from across India and from distant lands abroad, he expressed hope that this festival will be a bridge that connects them to the heartbeats of the Naga community, to the hospitality of Naga homes, and to the myths and legends that dance in the mountain air.

The governor also requested all to enjoy the festivity and partake in the traditions adding “carry a piece of Nagaland in your heart forever.”

Describing Hornbill Festival as a “cultural phenomenon that encapsulates the spirit of Nagaland” Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio said this event epitomises the unity, diversity and oneness of the Naga people and celebrates the ‘Naga Way of Life.’

For visitors, he maintained that the Hornbill Festival offers more than just a visual spectacle but provides a closer understanding of the people, offering a ringside view of this elusive land, its inhabitants, and their culture. 

Over the years, he said that this festival has transcended its initial vision, becoming a national and international sensation.

 “Today, it stands as a must-visit attraction on the travel itineraries of both domestic and international travellers” stated Rio.

Besides, he said the global participation has turned this cultural celebration into a melting pot of diverse traditions, fostering a beautiful exchange of ideas, art, and heritage citing that in the past the festival has played host to renowned dignitaries and cultural troupes from Thailand, Japan, Myanmar, Korea, Europe and beyond. 

This year too, Rio maintained that the Hornbill Festival 2023 promises to be a global showcase of cultural richness and diplomatic collaboration as he welcomed the United States of America, Germany, and Colombia as prominent partner countries, and Assam as the Partner State.

The Chief Minister also informed that the Hornbill Music Festival 2023 will host music bands and cultural ambassadors from America, Germany, Colombia, South Korea, and from all over the country with more than 800 musicians from all over the world.

“I am optimistic that these partnerships with different countries will pave the way for enhanced collaborations and mutual benefit in the years to come” expressed Rio. 

He also stated that adding to the participation of the United States in a number of events, the international flavor continues as the renowned German rock band, Elm Tree Circle is set to grace the Hornbill Music Festival, while the Goethe-Institute/Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata will contribute to the film segment by showcasing notable German film productions, providing a cinematic journey into German culture. 

Besides, he said, a German business delegation will engage in a round table discussion with the Investment and Development Authority of Nagaland (IDAN), opening doors for economic and developmental partnerships. 

Rio thanked all stating “we thank all of you for your trust in us and for making the festival even more vibrant and meaningful. I am sure the experience this year will be much more memorable because of your presence and participation.”

“Through this festival, we aim not only to showcase the beauty of Nagaland but also to build bridges that connect us with the world” stated Rio and invited all to join the cultural extravaganza to celebrate the richness of Naga traditions and the spirit of unity that transcends borders.

16,446 visitors on day 1
Meanwhile, day one of the 24th Hornbill Festival at Kisama saw a total of 16,446 visitors. According to the Nagaland Directorate of Tourism, a total of 353 foreign tourists, 4,108 domestic tourists and 11,985 local visitors were recorded to have attended the festival on the first day.