Hornbill Festival l Photo: Mathrubhumi
Kohima: Displaying traditional diverse culture and vibrant life, the 10-day-long 23rd edition of Hornbill Festival began at the Naga Heritage Village Kisama on Thursday.
In another development, demanding a separate state, the Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO) despite the state government's appeal has asked the tribes of the area not to participate in the annual Hornbill Festival.
The Hornbill Festival, named after a colourful forest bird, coincides with the 60th Nagaland statehood day celebrations.
President Droupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President J.P. Nadda and many other leaders greeted people of Nagaland on the occasion.
In a tweet, Modi said that India takes great pride in the culture of Nagaland, which emphasises on courage, hard work, and living in harmony with nature. The Prime Minister said he prays for the continuous success of Nagaland in the years to come.
As India assumes G20 Presidency on Thursday, which also coincides with the Nagaland statehood day and commencement of the hornbill festival, co-branding activities are being carried out such as the G20 Logo being displayed at Naga heritage village Kisama, 12 km from the capital city Kohima.
The G20 logo has been inscribed in all programme booklets, banners, cut-outs, and publicity materials.
Organised by the Nagaland government's Tourism and Art and Culture department, the Hornbill Festival showcases Nagaland's deep-rooted traditions and its rich cultural heritage in all its ethnicity, diversity, and grandeur. The festival is also a tribute to the great Hornbill, which is an admired and revered bird by the Naga people, for its qualities of alertness and grandeur.
The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is a cultural extravaganza to revive, protect and preserve the richness and uniqueness of the Naga heritage. For the tourists and guests, it is an opportunity to get a comprehensive understanding of the Naga people, their land, and their rich culture.
According to the officials of Tourism and Art and Culture department, on an average 2.50 lakhs to three lakhs tourists including 2,500 to 3,000 foreigners visited Nagaland to witness the grandeur Hornbill Festival and related events. Noting that India is a land of culture, the Vice-President in his speech said that the place "Kisama", where the annual Hornbill festival takes place, could become the culture of cultures.
Nagaland has been endowed with scenic beauty and the pattern of its landscaping is captivating because of which he said the state has a great potential in the tourism industry.
The Nagas being very hospitable, love and affectionate to its guests and outsiders could boost the tourism industry in a big way, Dhankhar said and mentioned about the rich horticulture produce of the State like Kiwi, Pineapple, Coffee. Naga culture and the memories of his stay in Nagaland would be embedded in his heart even in the days ahead.
He praised the rich Naga songs, dances, crafts, cuisines etc and expressed his happiness over the vibrant Naga culture and traditions.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio stated that the Hornbill Festival exemplifies the Naga Way of Life, celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the Naga people along with the rest of the northeastern states, showcasing the unity and oneness under a spirit of solidarity.
He said that it is aimed at protecting, preserving and promoting the culture and heritage of the people, while creating opportunities for economic growth and employment generation. The Chief Minister said that the people of Nagaland aspire for genuine peace, and are hopeful that with the successful conclusion of the peace process, Nagas would be able to play a contributory role in the interest of humanity on the global stage.
He said that the Hornbill festival is a symbol of Brand Nagaland and the emerging Naga Soft Power. The cultural ambassadors representing the tribes of Nagaland and from the different states of the north east and even the mainland are the heart and soul of the Hornbill Festival, he added.
Ambassadors of France and Bulgaria to India, Australian High Commissioner to India, Trade Commissioner for South Asia and British Deputy High Commissioner for Western India and Director of External Affairs Ministry (South Asia office) are expected to participate. Assam and Nagaland Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi and many Indian and foreign dignitaries were present in the colourful inaugural functions.