Hornbill Festival


Nagaland is predominantly a tribal state inhabited by 16 groups of the Tibeto-Burman tribes with their distinct way of life, food, dress and festivals. This narrow strip of mountain territory that lies east of Assam and west of Burma with different ethnicity is bound by English as the official language. More than 60% of the Naga people are engaged in agriculture and most of their festivals also revolve around agriculture. Participation of the community in these festivals is considered sacred. The Government of Nagaland has used this tradition as an opportunity to encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of the state and started organizing the Hornbill Festival every year in the first week of December.

Named after the large beautiful bird, the Indian Hornbill--an integral part of the tribal folklore--the Hornbill festival since its inauguration in the year 2000, has attracted tourists from different parts of the world. The Hornbill festival held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, which is about 12 km from Kohima is organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments. The Festival showcases a mélange of cultural displays including traditional and contemporary music.

Each of the tribes of the state takes part in this festival and display the rich cultural traditions—from the multicolored spears to the ceremonial machetes, trophies and prizes of war to the chest plates and head dress of colored bamboo. Ethnic cuisine, drink and traditional sports are other attractions of this week-long fest. Handloom and handicrafts include beautiful wood carvings, bamboo and cane products, colorful ethnic shawls and jackets, shoulder bags are also in display for visitors.