Looking for a reason to visit Nagaland? It's time to move from the shadows of the delicious pork and bamboo shoot and the fiery Naga king chiili for we bring you five best festivals out of the many festivals that Nagas celebrate throughout the year.
This 10-day festival held annually (December 1-10) in Kisama is rightly called 'Festival of Festivals'. This festival is probably the best way to get to know the different cultures, food, dance and songs of Nagaland. One of the most important festivals celebrated in Nagaland, Hornbill Festival's main objective is to protect the unique and beautiful Naga tradition and culture. Keeping this in mind, every Naga tribe takes part in the celebration. Hornbill Festival draws in many festival goers not only from in and around the state, but also from other parts of India and the world.
This celebration of fertility, especially that of a land's keeps the Ao Nagas busy for three days in May (1-3). As per the old tradition, a ceremonial fire is lit, arounf which the village folks gather in their traditional best. Locally-made wine and meat are a big part of the celebration along with traditional songs and dance about brave warriors, love, brotherhood and prosperity. Young women can be seen donned in their beautiful traditional attire, jewelery and head gear.
April is a good time to be in Nagaland; Mon district to be precise. Celebrated by the Konyak Naga tribe, Aoleng is a festival that celebrates the onset of spring. Konyaks are mostly known for their head-hunting tradition of the bygone years and though a thing of the past now, the culture and tradition is still kept alive in the songs, dances and story-telling. Each day of the week-long festival is celebrated with the best of food, songs and dances. Community feast is a big things and if not for anything else, be a part of the festival for the food!
The Lothas go big at the time of harvest and Tokhu Emong, celebrated post harvest, is essentially marked by a lot of merry-making, marking the end of hardwork done during the harvest. The festival is celebrated in the first week of November for nine days during which the entire community takes part in community feasting—a symbol for unity. To be a part of the celebration, you need to visit Wokha, home to the Lotha Nagas.
The one-day festival (July 8) of Tuluni is celebrated by the Sumi tribe. The festival gets its name from rice beer which is called tuluni in local Sumi dialect. As expected from the name itself, copious amount of rice beer is consumed during the festival. But it is not just drinking, Tuluni is also celebrated for bountiful harvest and for the unity among the community. During the festival, ceremonial slaughtering of pigs and mithun is done after which the meat is divided among all village households.