• Konyak tribals Nagaland
  • Aoling Festival
  • Hornbill Festival

Nagaland Peoples & Festivals


Nagaland is a hill state located in the extreme north-east of India, bounded by Burma in the east, Assam in the west, Arunachal Pradesh and a part of Assam in the north and Manipur in the south. In addition to the state of Nagaland, Naga tribes are found in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and the northwestern hill tracts of Burma

The Naga people (pronounced [naːgaː]) are a conglomeration of several tribes inhabiting the North Eastern part of India and north-western Burma. The tribes have similar cultures and traditions, and form the majority ethnic group in Indian state of Nagaland, with significant presence in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and some small population in Assam.

The Naga speak various distinct Tibeto-Burman languages, including Lotha, Angami, Pochuri, Ao, Poula (Poumai Naga), Inpui, Rongmei (Ruangmei), Tangkhul, Thangal, Maram, and Zeme. In addition, they have developed Nagamese Creole, which they use between tribes and villages, which each have their own dialect of language. As of 2012, the state of Nagaland state officially recognises 17 Naga tribes. In addition, some other Naga tribes occupy territory in the contiguous adjoining states of Manipur, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh, India and across the border in Burma. Prominent Naga tribes include Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Liangmai, Lotha, Pochury, Rongmei, Zeme

The Nagas are organized by tribes differentiated by language and some traditions. They have a strong warrior tradition. Their villages are sited on hilltops and until the later part of the 19th century, they made frequent armed raids to villages on the plains below. The tribes exhibit variation to a certain degree, particularly in their languages and some traditional practices. Similarities in their culture distinguish them from the neighbouring occupants of the region, who are of other ethnicities.

Almost all these Naga tribes have a similar dress code, eating habits, customs, traditional laws, etc. One distinction was their ritual practice of head hunting, once prevalent among tribal warriors in Nagaland and among the Naga tribes in Myanmar. They used to take the heads of enemies to take on their power. They no longer practice this ritual. Today the Naga people number around 2 million in total. The men's clothing is distinctive: conical red headgear is decorated with wild-boar canine teeth and white-black Hornbill feathers. Their weapons are primarily a spear, with the shaft decorated with red-black hairs, and the Dao, with broad blade and long handle.

The Hornbill festival is a celebration held every year in the first week of December, in Nagaland, North-east India.It is also called as the 'Festival of Festivals'

The Festival is named after the Indian Hornbill, the large and colourful forest bird 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 the 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.[1]

The Hornbill Festival provides a colourful mixture of dances, performances, crafts, parades, games, sports, food fairs and religious ceremonies. The festival both exposes the culture and tradition of tribal peoples, and reinforces Nagaland’s identity as a 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.