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The Morung Express, December 2, 2016
The Hornbill Festival began its 17th edition at Naga Heritage village, Kisama on December 2, 2016, coinciding with the Nagaland Statehood Day.
Nagaland Chief Minister, TR Zeliang while delivering the welcome address greeted the people of Nagaland on the occasion of the 53rd Statehood Day. The Chief Minister said the Naga people are determined to preserve the rich culture and tradition which he described as the hallmark of our identity. He also added that Nagaland being considered as geographically isolated from mainland would soon be a thing of the past with the coming up of Look East Policy and with Hornbill Festival being recognized internationally.
It is a collaborative celebration of all Naga Tribes at one venue and has been coined as the ‘Festival of Festivals’. The Festival is a tribute to the Hornbill, which is the most admired and revered bird for the Nagas, for its qualities of alertness and grandeur. The majestic bird is closely identified with the social and cultural life of the Nagas as reflected in various tribal folklores, dances and songs. The awe and admiration for the bird is symbolically displayed on almost all tribal traditional headgears worn during the Festivals and is indicative of the unity of the Nagas.
The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland is a cultural extravaganza to revive, protect and preserve the richness and uniqueness of the Naga heritage, while for the visitors to this event it is a means for a comprehensive understanding of Naga People, their land and culture. Over the years, this event has gained in stature and scale. It has now become a unique platform for the tourists to witness the cultural diversity not only of the Nagas but the seven other sister states of the North East.
President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the 18th edition of the Hornbill Festival at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama. Speaking on the occasion, which also coincided with the 54th statehood day, Kovind said Nagaland is on the verge of creating history after suffering years of insurgency.
He also congratulated all the Naga political groups for coming onto a common platform to reach an early and honourable solution.
Saying the Hornbill Festival and the Hornbill International Rock Contest are perfect platforms to showcase Naga culture and tradition, Kovind congratulated the chief minister and his council of ministers for putting up such an impressive show.
Kovind invoked Naga soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for the nation. He said the people of the state are endowed with many inherent skills and the state is therefore progressing on most fronts. The state has the potential to become a hub of tourism as it is blessed with abundant natural resources.
Mentioning the state is still lagging behind in the fields of infrastructure and connectivity, Kovind said, "Without the development of Nagaland the development of India would be incomplete."
Governor PB Acharya said, "Over the years, the Hornbill Festival has become one of the most talked about cultural events due to the enthusiastic participation of the people of Nagaland.
We should always remember our roots, our traditions, our culture, our dialects, dances, songs and clothes as these are our identity. This festival is a platform to showcase our folk songs, traditional dances and indigenous games and way of life." Describing Nagas as hardworking people, Acharya said, "Naga youths are among the best in performing arts, hospitality and service sectors. The state has great potential in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and tourism. However, Nagas need to show the world that Nagaland is a peaceful state. Peace is a must in order to boost growth and development."
"The Hornbill Festival, which was initiated in the year 2000 by the state government to showcase our ethnic cultural identity, has gained much popularity over the years. Our customs, dialects, culture and traditions are the hallmark of our identity," he added.