Time : 1st week of December (Every year).
Venue : Kohima, Nagaland in India.
Celebrated By : All the tribes of Nagaland.
Duration : 8 days.
Nagaland known as the land of ‘Naga’ people is also the land of festivals with one festival followed by another round the year. In order to facilitate tourists to have a glimpse of all the Naga festivals at one time and one place, the Government of Nagaland Tourism has evolved a festival called Tourism Hornbill Festival, which is celebrated at Kohima, the capital town of Nagaland. The Hornbill Festival celebrated between 1st & 5th of December every year. The Hornbill Tourism Festival of Nagaland is aimed at reviving, protecting and sustaining richness of the Naga heritage and
traditions. This is done through cultural extravaganza worth experiencing.
The state of Nagaland boasts 16 major tribes. The names of the tribes are not a typical recitation of Indian ethnic groups - the Angamis, the Aos, the Chakhesangs, the Konyaks, the Kukis, the Kacharis, the Sumis, the Changs, the Lothas, the Pochurys. All the tribes are noted for their unique character. Nagaland’s calendar is filled with various tribal fests throughout the year.
In the year 2000, Nagaland’s government decided to have all of the state’s tribes engage in a common festival. Thus was born the Hornbill Festival, which is celebrated in the first week of December in the Nagaland's capital city - Kohima.
The state of Nagaland Tourism still supports a tribal culture and rich traditions here at the Hornbill Festival, in the state capital Kohima, this is celebrated with a series of performances and demonstrations. The Festival is named after the hornbill, a globally respected bird that shows up in the folklore of most of the state’s tribes. This one week long festival unite all of the Nagaland, in one giant colour-splashed hodgepodge of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs and religious ceremonies. The festival both exposes the cultural Tourism and tradition of tribal people and reinforces Nagaland’s identity as an unique state in India’s federal union.
Traditional arts are also featured, with paintings, wood carvings and sculptures by modern Naga artists on display. Naga troupes sing folk songs, perform traditional dances and play indigenous games and sports. In the evenings a programme of music concerts, catering
for all tastes, ensure that the festive spirit continues through the night.
Time: 1st week of May.
Venue: Mokokchung, Nagaland in India.
Celebrated By: Ao Tribe.
Duration: One Week.
The Festival - Famous Tribal Festival Tour
Moatsu Festival is celebrated by the Ao tribe of Nagaland. Moatsu is celebrated in the first week of May every year. Various rituals are performed during this period. The Aos observe Moatsü Mong after the sowing is done. The Moatsu festival provides the Aos a period of recreation and entertaiment after the stressful work of clearing fields, burning jungles and sowing seeds, cleaning up the Tsubu
(Wells) and repairs and construction of houses by elders of the Putu Menden, stretching over a week. This tribal festival is marked by peppy songs and dances.
The whole festival with full of merry making and fun is observed only for three days from 1st to 3rd of May. During this festival one of the symbolic celebrations is Sangpangtu, where a big fire is lit and men and women sit around it. Men & women putting on the complete best attire and the womenfolk serve the wine and meat. Righteous man who lives by the guidance of the Almighty forecast whether good or evil days are awaiting the people and the village by readings of the celebration of the Moatsü festival.
Celebrated By : Pochury Tribes.
Venue: Phek, Nagaland in India.
Duration: 10 Days.
NAZU TRIBAL FESTIVAL TOUR
The Nazu tribal festival is one of the most famous merry making festivals of the Pochury tribe of Nagaland. This gala event is celebrated for 10 days in the month February prior to the sowing of seeds for the year. The festival is celebrated with must glitter and gaiety. Songs and dances are performed by the Pochury tribe during this occasion. Khupielilie dance is one of them performed by the women folk of the Pochury tribe. It is more entertaining and competitive than ritualistic.
THE DRESS WORN BY THE DANCERS
The dancers wear Ascunyi (Ribbon like head dress), Kiileniinyi (Long mekhala worn from the chest down to the calf), Achulhre (Necklace like ornament worn round the waist over the Killeniinyi), Akhi (Armlet), Akhusa (Bangle for forearm) and beautiful necklaces called Asker. This dance is noted for the harmonious movements of hands and legs along with the songs of different tunes and beats.
Venue: Nagaland in India.
Celebrated By : Angami Tribe.
Duration: 10 Days.
The festival of Sekrenyi is celebrated in the month of February by the Angamis of Nagaland in India.
Sekrenyi normally falls in the 25th day of the Angami month of "Kezei". This 10 day festival of Sekrenyi is also called Phousnyi by the Angamis.
The Festival follows a series of ritual and ceremony. The first of the rituals is "Kizie". A few drops of rice water taken from the top of the jug called "Zumho", are put into leaves and placed at the three main posts of the house by the lady of the household.
The first day begins with all young and old men going to the village well to bathe. In the night, two young men go to the well to clean it. After the cleaning of the well, some of the village youth guard the well in the night as no one is allowed to fetch water after cleaning of the well. The womenfolk, especially, are not allowed to touch the well water. Hence, they have to see that water is fetched for the household before the cleaning of the well.
Early the next morning, all the young men of the village rise to take a bathe at the well. The whole process is carried out in a ceremonial manner. The young men will don two new shawls (the white Mhoushü and the black Lohe) and sprinkle water on their breast, knees and on their right arm. This ceremony is called "Dzuseva" (touching the sleeping water) and it assures them that all their ills and misfortunes have been washed away by the purified well water. When they return from the well, a cock is sacrificed by throttling it with bare hands. It is taken as a good omen when the right leg falls down. The innards of the fowl are taken out and hung outside the house for the village elders to come and inspect it. Beginning from the fourth day of the festival, a three-day session of singing and feasting begins.
Time: First week of October ( 5th of October).
Celebrated By: Pochury Tribe of Nagaland.
Duration: From the last week of September to first week of October.
October is the month of festivity for the Pochury tribe of Nagaland, who anxiously awaits every year to celebrate their greatest festival Yemshe. The arrival of the new harvest is celebrated with full fun & fair is during Yemshe Harvest festival. All the Pouchuries, young and old, rich and poor ceremonialize this festival with great pomp and show expecting a good harvest which they deserve after a year’s hard work under stewing sun and relentless rain. No one is allowed to harvest, until the whole festival is over.
THE PERIOD OF FESTIVAL
generally, this harvest festival tour begins at the end of September with different categories of ceremonial ritual till the final day which falls in the first week of October every year. Yemshe is observed only on the 5th October keeping in tune with the final days of the traditional celebration of the festival.
THE FESTIVE RITUALS
As the time approaches, the Village Spokesman announces the arrival of Yemshe. The very next day of the festivities begin with the observance of the first part of rituals.
THE BIG YEMSHE
This is the time for preparations all around. The village youth cleanse the whole village, footpaths, wells and fields and construct baskets making-cum-resting places. After all this the head of the family performs all the rituals. Necessary materials used in rituals are fastened to the main post of the entrance house. Engaged couples (fiance & fiancee) renew their relationship with exchange of food or wine and eat together. Many young couples come to know each other and get themselves engage during this period. Hence, this festival has great important and it is an enjoyable moment, especially for the young people and farmers in general. This is known as the Big Yemshe.
THE SMALL YEMSHE
The small Yemshe, like big Yemshe, is also celebrated with rituals. The purification of the house, a ritual feast has to be hosted by a rich family. All the villagers observe the period with great sacrament till the end of the period.
THE RITUAL TO BE OBSERVED
The family who host the Purification Feast has to fulfill the following conditions before the feast day.
1. The family hosting the Purification Feast, has to provide wine to all families of the village.
2. The family has to host dance party of his (head of the family) age-group, men and women in the village and in Khel wise as well. Feast is given to the dancers, and meat is distributed to all his age-group friends.
3. Cutting of Bamboo Mugs takes place twice. All the host’s clansmen/nephews make new bamboo mugs. They take wine from these mugs, which is kept with the host. All the old Mugs are collected from every house and kept in the host’s family for drinking wine.
4. Only paddy rice is arranged (not millet, maize etc.) and distributed to all the houses by the host and later the cooked rice is again collected and redistributed to all the families in the village.
5. All the clansmen take one Mithun and a Chicken to a river on the way to the Jhum field and feast. They construct a resting shed there for the host of the Purification Feast. It is believed that in the second life, those who have not hosted the Purification Feast can not sigh with a deep breath as ‘ewhi’, but can only say ‘Korowhi’ and those who have not performed the Resting Shed Feast they can only say ‘owhi’.
6. For reserving of frogs, one axe each for three rivers is given to the villagers as frogs in these three rivers are reserved. This is followed by giving out a big feast to all the village elders. After that, it is announced in the village that frogs are reserved by the host of Purification or Yemshe Festival and no other should go to these rivers to catch it.
7. After wine and food is arranged, the master of the festival asks his villagers to fetch him pine-wood and he gives a big feast to his villagers. Men takes 6 pieces of meat while women takes only 5 pieces.
8. All the clansmen carry well-prepared food and wine and go to the reserved rivers and make bridges/ladders for frogs catchers to enable them to go to any part of the river. At the same time, they eat and drink and enjoy on their own. This is a part of many games they play.
9. A chicken is kept in a cage on a selected tree on the way to the field. After that a selected group go to that spot with dried frogs where chickens were kept and have a feast there. Every household has to perform this ritual. Even the poorest family has to perform this ritual by roasting brinjal instead of frogs and chicken.
10. It is traditionally believed that the most fertile lands were under the control of devils. Sacrificial rituals also therefore have to be performed according to the fertility of the land. For the most fertile land a Mithun has to be sacrificed, then a pig and for the less fertile land a chicken has to be sacrificed in the field. Two big gourds of wine is carried, one for halfway and the other for sacrificial consumption. While coming back from their fields a particular group does not mix up with another group. So, a Mithun group, Pig group and Chicken group shall come back home separately. Likewise, wine is also taken separately.
THE FINAL FEAST
After all the arrangements like collection of green vegetables, meat etc. and performances of rituals are completed, the master selects 6 supervisors; two for washing ginger, four to supervise the butchers for preparation of the feast for the whole village. All young and old will come and help the host in preparation of the feast. In this feast, Mithun, Pigs and Chicken are slaughtered. If there is no Mithun three pigs substitute a Mithun. Womenfolk pound rice and cook while the menfolk is busy for meat, and other difficult jobs. By sundown, all villagers, from youngest to the oldest come together to attend the great feast.
Few quantities of all sorts of food stuff and rice grains etc. is shared and offered to the dead souls as farewell gifts and greetings of the Yemshe Harvest Feast.
The last day of the feast will be impressively observed as the feast cleansing day.