Hornbill Festival - Festival of Nagaland

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 23, 2023, 12:59

The Hornbill Festival is very popular in Nagaland and is also called the 'Festival of All Festivals. The festival is a powerful expression of Naga culture through great traditional music, dance, and performances. All of the Nagaland tribes contribute to making the festival more colourful, vibrant, and enjoyable. People from across the globe attend this auspicious opportunity to witness, participate or both.

Hornbill Festival History

The festival is named after the Indian Hornbill, which is a common bird in Nagaland's folklore and is often seen in Nagaland's forests. The festival started in 2000 as a mixture of cultural exhibitions. The purpose of this festival is to ensure that the Naga culture is spread widely and remains protected. The festival got a huge success, thanks to the efforts of the Nagaland Tourism Board.

Significance of the Hornbill Festival

The reason the Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival is celebrated is that it represents the hornbill, a bird that the Naga has revered for centuries. Folktales and songs sung throughout the festival demonstrate the importance of this bird. This bird's feathers were used to decorate the hats of Naga people and warriors.

The hornbill species was found to be endangered, and this reason became a huge matter of concern to the Nagas. Hence in 2000, the Hornbill Festival was first celebrated with folk songs, dances, traditional games, and war songs.

Where is the Hornbill Festival Held?

The Hornbill Festival is celebrated in Kisama Heritage Village (about 5 km from Kohima), a small village in Nagaland.

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Significant Facts and Rituals of the Hornbill Festival

  • Each tribe has its ritual performance that is gracefully beautiful and eccentric. There are religious parades, enthusiastic musical performances, and traditional folk dances that depict Nagaland's cultural heritage.
  • Various dances, fashion shows, crafts, sports, and beauty pageants are held. The festival emphasizes the competitiveness of the people with a variety of food and entertainment to maintain a lively atmosphere of celebration.
  • Traditional works of art, woodwork, handicrafts, sculptures, paintings and wood carvings are on display.
  • Several food centres offer a variety of food, including delicious traditional Naga fare.
  • People participate in various indigenous games and adventurous activities like Naga wrestling, traditional archery, etc.
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FAQs on Hornbill Festival

Q.1 The Hornbill Festival is celebrated in which state of India?

The Hornbill Festival is celebrated in the Northeastern state i.e., Nagaland.

Q.2 How is the Hornbill Festival celebrated by the Nagas?

The Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival is celebrated enthusiastically, with the Nagas holding an exhibition of the local culture. Naga people dance to the local rhymes and songs, and visitors from across the globe attend the celebration. In addition, there are many customs and rituals that the locals follow, followed by several performances. Various arts, games, folk songs, and handicrafts are on display. Local dishes are also served at the celebration. Attendees can buy souvenirs and taste the rice beer that is a speciality of the Kisama Heritage Village.

Q.3 When was the Hornbill Festival initiated in Nagaland?

The Hornbill Festival was first celebrated in Nagaland in the year 2000. For 21 years, the Hornbill Festival has been introducing Nagaland's cultural canvas to both Indians and the outside world. All Nagaland tribes display their rich cultural heritage, which also has a massive influence on the state's tourism.

Q.4 On which date do the Nagas celebrate the Hornbill Festival?

The Nagas celebrate the Hornbill Festival from 1st December to 10th December each year.