The tribes of Nagaland celebrate their festivals with gusto and fervor. More than sixty percent of the population of Nagaland depends on agriculture and therefore most of their festivals revolve round agriculture. They consider their festivals sacred and so participation in these festivals is compulsory.
Nagaland is known as the land of festivals as each tribe celebrates its own festival with dedication and passion. Some of the important festivals celebrated are Tsukhenyie by the Chakhesangs in January, Mimkut by the Kukis in January, Bushu by the Kacharis in January, Sekrenyi by the Angamis in February, Aoling by the Konyaks in April, Moatsu by the Aos in May, Tuluni by the Sumis in July, Nyaknylum by the Changs in July, Tokhu Emong by the Lothas in November and Yemshe by the Pochurys in October.
To encourage inter-tribal interaction and to promote cultural heritage of Nagaland, the Government of Nagaland organizes the Hornbill Festival every year in the first week of December. Organized by the State Tourism and Art & Culture Departments, Hornbill Festival showcases a mélange of cultural displays under one roof. This festival usually takes place between the 1st and the 7th of December every year in Kohima.
Hornbill Festival is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima. All the tribes of Nagaland take part in this festival. The aim of the festival is to revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza and traditions.
For visitors it means a closer understanding of the people and culture of Nagaland. It must be included in your itinerary, if you are visiting Nagaland during that time to enjoy the food, songs, dances and customs of Nagaland. The Festival is named after the hornbill, the globally respected bird and which is displayed in folklore in most of the state’s tribes.
The week long festival unites one and all in Nagaland and people enjoy the colourful performances, crafts, sports, food fairs, games and ceremonies. Traditional arts which include paintings, wood carvings, and sculptures are also on display. Festival highlights include Traditional Naga Morungs Exhibition and sale of Arts and Crafts, Food Stalls, Herbal Medicine Stalls, Flower shows and sales, Cultural Medley, songs and dances, Fashion shows, Beauty Contest, Traditional Archery, Naga wrestling, Indigenous Games, and Musical concert.