Nagaland is home to a total 16 tribes and the festive celebration of each of them is unique, iconic and exciting. You can rejoice in the rich heritage and customs of the Nagas by attending the fairs and festivals of Nagaland. This state is gracefully labeled as the “land festivals and folk fares,” which have been passed down from generations. Here, the tribal communities accumulate together and present a fantastic opportunity to grasp the vibrant life and cultural activities of different tribal communities. The 16 Naga tribes of Nagaland mark their unique celebration in their own ritual and style. The objective of each fair and festival in Nagaland is to showcase their cultural, spiritual, and heritage values.
Fairs and Festivals of Nagaland are the paths to indulge, celebrate, and discover what makes these tribal communities spice up renaissance life. All the tribes celebrate the different festivals for different reasons. Almost every month in Nagaland is reserved for the local communities to kick in the unique festive celebration.
Why Tribal Communities of Nagaland Celebrates Fairs and Festivals?
There are 16 tribal communities in Nagaland that celebrate fairs and festivals to mark happiness. A few celebrate to receive inner peace by performing different rituals. While the rest of the tribal groups celebrate festivals mainly revolving around agriculture. Even tourists and locals can indulge in the festivities of pre-harvest, post-harvest, sowing celebration, thanksgiving, soil fertility, community bonding, purification, and rejuvenation.
Witness the paradoxical push and pull of vibrant traditions and influences of different Naga tribes. An electric mix of folk dances and local music celebrations attracts a large number of tourists in good faith. When planning your visit to Nagaland, consider these fairs and festivals in Nagaland and sync up with your excursion.
- Highlight: You will see the enthusiastic cultural fervor of all the tribes/Nagas of Nagaland.
- Duration: 10 days (approx.)
- Festival Month: First week of December.
- Belongs to Which Tribe: Multiple Tribe/Nagas come together under one roof
The grandness and festive charm of the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland is unmatchable. Held in Kisama Village annually in the first week of December, Hornbill Festival is the biggest celebration of Nagaland as it brings all of the tribal communities together under one roof. The festival is a unique fervor of traditional costumes, lip-smacking local food, display of tribal artworks, religious ceremonies, and traditional dances. You can understand the charm and importance of the Hornbill Festival that is named after the state bird - Hornbill. The Government of Nagaland first introduced this festival amongst the tourists to boost tourists' interactions with the tribal communities.
Why Attend the Hornbill Festival?
You must attend the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland to learn about the rich traditional customs of the Nagas community. You will come across all the Nagas tribes under one roof indulging in dance, laugh, and feast. Also, the brotherhood amongst the communities could be seen. You can also buy handcrafted and hand woven items which is a delightful thing to do for shopaholics.
- Highlight: Women start weaving handwoven shawls for their men, which they wear during the purification rituals.
- Duration: 8 to 10 days (approx.)
- Festival Month: February Annually
- Belongs to Which Tribe: Angami Nagas
The festive spirit of the Sekrenyi festival in Nagaland is a sight to behold if you are planning to visit Nagaland in February. This festival is linked with agricultural practices and marks the purification and sanctification of the mind, body, and soul. Angami Nagas celebrate Sekrenyi Festival for 10 days annually in February. Locals and tourists alike get to indulge together in an assortment of festivities, food, and fun. The main ceremony of the Sekrenyi Festival commenced on the 8th day. The ceremony starts when young bachelor men do well-cleaning work outside the village. Post doing this, they sprinkle the sacred water by sacrificing the cock (not chicken). The tribal people accumulate the wild fruits to decorate their ancestor houses, followed by savoring rice-made beer.
Why Attend the Sekrenyi Festival?
Animals are hunted for cooking which is being served as the food for the festival attendees. The oven in which the food is prepared is destroyed after the festival ends. However, it is a traditional festival, but you will come across young men and women exchanging love vows and gifts to express their love for each other. When the final day of the festival arrives, people sit together and eat cooked food. The ancestors of Angami Nagas believed that Sekrenyi Festival promotes harmony amongst each other.
- Highlight: The Konyak people are tattooed men who are famous for their headhunting practices.
- Duration: 6 days (approx.)
- Festival Month: First week of April
- Belongs to Which Tribe: Konyak Tribe
The largest concentration of Konyak people is found in the Mon district of Nagaland, where this festival is celebrated with full zeal. This festival of Nagaland is celebrated by one of the seventh tribes dwelling in Nagaland, the Konyak Tribe. Another highlight of the Aoleng Festival is that it coincides with Konyak New Year. The Konyak community celebrates this festival to mark the spring arrival in association with the upcoming harvest's good outcome. Local people pray to the almighty by sacrificing animals.
The assortment of unique traditions, customs, and rituals are observed at this festival. Food and traditional beer is served during the Aoleng Festival. One can come across tribal people wearing their traditional attires followed by unique jewelry. If you want to witness the splendor of the Konyak people tribe and their unique kind of celebration, attend the Aoleng Festival that is held in April.
Why Attend the Aoleng Festival?
If you are a folk music enthusiast then this is a perfect festival which you can attend. You will meet tattooed members of the Konyak Tribe which were once known for their fantastic headhunting skills. The tribal people are so friendly with the tourists. So, attend Aoleng Festival and meet the head-hunting community.
- Highlight: People invoke god blessings from their special rituals.
- Duration: 6 days (approx.)
- Festival Month: End of July
- Belongs to Which Tribe: Chang Tribe
Celebrated by the Chang Tribe with full zeal at Tuensang district, Naknyulem Festival commences at the end of July. The celebration period of this festival coincides with the first harvest of the season. Amongst the tourists alike, this festival has stapled its exuberance and extravagance. The reason tourists attend Naknyulem Festival is to get a sneak peek into the history of the native Nagas. This festival's main objective is to applaud good over bad as the Chang Tribal people believe the three heavenly gods empower people with their blessings. During the festival, several spiritual rituals are carried out and promote peace, harmony, friendship, and cultural awareness.
Tribal people and locals slaughter animals like a pig for the food. The experienced priest and the aged members of the community craft Yans (Tops) and Kong kin (Mouth Flute) to place at their houses' entrance. It is believed that God comes to the earth on that day to collect Kong kin and Yans. The festival ends when men beat drums till dusk to eradicate the darkness.
Why Attend the Naknyulem Festival?
To enjoy a gala time at the festival.
- Highlight: People please and honor the local demon “Thilha.”
- Duration: 2 to 3 days (approx.)
- Festival Month: Later part of December
- Belongs to Which Tribe: Kuki Tribe/Nagas
Another festival related to agriculture, but Mimkut Festival, is a post-harvest festival of Nagaland. The amazing thing about this festival is it is even celebrated in Mizoram as well. It is celebrated in association with the last season successfully harvested crops, Maize (locals called Mim). The locals and tribal people believe that the dead souls wake up from their graves and visit their family’s home during the Mimkut Festival.
To honor their deceased ancestors, people distribute and prepare fresh vegetables, handmade jewelry, rice wine, and homemade bread. If you plan to visit Nagaland during December, you will come across people who indulge in dancing performances on the rhythm of pulsating traditional music. Kuki Tribe is known for its artworks, and thus, you can witness this festival's artistic splendor.
Why Attend the Mimkut Festival?
First of all the festival is held for a shorter duration of 2 days! Secondly, music pulsates from the large traditional drums and other elegant instruments are the treat for everyone. Locals and tribal people wear traditional attires, several food stalls are set up to keep the festive spirit going. If you are traveling with your family, get ready to indulge in several fairs, contests, and games.
- Highlight: Dance, feast, and outdoor games are the highlight.
- Duration: 3 days (approx.)
- Festival Month: Later part of December
- Belongs to Which Tribe: Dimasa Tribe/Nagas
When the January harvest gets completed, Bushu Dima is celebrated. The Dimasa Tribe people sing songs followed with drum beats, also called ‘Kharam.’ Locals or Nagas spend their first night dancing enthusiastically, followed by their traditional attires. Throughout this festival, elders are respected by the youngsters through several religious ceremonies. Food is prepared and arrangement for fun and frolic activities is done.
Why Attend the Bushu Dimla Festival?
Both adults and youngsters can indulge in amazing games like high jumps, long jumps, and similar.
- Highlight: This festival is a very private affair of the Ao Tribe. You need to obtain the permission to be a part of this festival.
- Duration: 3 Days (approx.)
- Festival Month: Early May
- Belongs to Which Tribe: Ao Tribe/Nagas
Moatsu Mong Festival has celebrated almost all the regions of Nagaland with full zeal. The surprising thing about this tribal community is they are the first to embrace Western education and Christianity. Moatsu Festival marks the spring arrival and is considered auspicious amongst the locals to exchange vows. The festival runs for 3 days annually during early May. If you are lucky enough to witness the Moatsu Mong Festival, you will come across that person of Ao Tribe members dance on their peppy traditional songs and indulge in dance performances.
Why Attend the Moatsu Mong Festival?
To taste the meticulously crafted rice wines by the tribal people and the locals. A large bonfire is set up in the evening, and the men and the woman sit around encircling it.