Hornbill Festival: People & Culture


Hornbill Festival billed by the Government of Nagaland has arrived for its 24th edition. Conceptualised in the year 2000, the Hornbill Festival dubbed as ‘Festival of Festivals,’ is a ten day annual tourism promotional event organised by the State Government to showcase Nagaland’s ‘rich and traditional cultural heritage in all its ethnicity, diversity and grandeur.’ With the guarantee to offer the experience of a lifetime, the festival, according to the state’s Department of Art & Culture, is offering a vibrant array of cultural performances, artistic displays, and historical showcases. The Nagaland Tourism department pronounces that Hornbill Festival ‘provides a unique platform for visitors to witness not only the Naga cultural diversity converged at one venue but also the states of North East India as a means of cultural exchange, while adventure, sports, art, handicraft, fashion, music, literature, etc also come as part of the special package.’

Over the last two decades, the festival has been curated to make it an extraordinary experience, while the feature of cultural diversity and rich heritage is presented as the primary feature of the event held from December 1 to 10 annually. This year, the line department foresees the main arena at the Kisama Heritage Village to come alive with daily cultural performances featuring 18 cultural troupes from within the state. ‘These troupes will showcase lively songs and dances, adorned in colorful traditional attire, providing a captivating glimpse into Naga cultural diversity,’ the publicity material reads. 

Every Naga tribe celebrates their own unique festivals marked by religious acts, singing and dancing, feasts involving the community. The cultural practices of a particular community are interwoven with spiritual sentiment, making it more meaningful, personal and unique to the people. What make the traditional cultural heritage even more remarkable to the community are the emotional connection and its ability to define the identity of the people based on the story and knowledge based on their past history. 

With the ever increasing popularity of the Hornbill Festival, the possibility of making it bigger and larger at the global stage is an easy prediction. The State Government seems to be capitalizing well on the Hornbill Festival and putting up a great show towards promotion of Nagaland’s cultural heritage. People and culture are essential to realize the full potential of the State. It would be a welcome change for the people of Nagaland to have the State Government concentrate the same amount of efforts in building the roads, hospitals, schools, power supply, create opportunities to set up industries and companies, develop an impartial economic environment, and thereby, ultimately creating a new culture aligning the well-being of the people with the objectives and policy of the government.

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