The 22nd Hornbill Festival began on a high note at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, 12 km from Kohima, on Wednesday.
Gracing the inaugural programme of the 10-day festival, Assam and Nagaland Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi said Nagaland is a place with rich culture, tradition and customs which are unique.
He noted that the dances and music of the state are well known worldwide.
Appealing to the young Naga generation to take pride in their tradition, Mukhi urged them to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of Nagaland.
“Nagaland is bestowed with rich biodiversity both flora and fauna and there is a need to harness it for the development of the state,” he stated.
Mukhi noted that the eco-tourism of the state has a huge potential for socio-economic growth adding that it can address the unemployment issue to a considerable extent.
Stating that the Hornbill Festival is a single platform where all the tribes showcase their rich culture and handicrafts to the world, he wished the people who have come from far and near a pleasant stay and to go back with memorable experience of the hospitality of the Naga people which is widely acclaimed.
Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who is the chief host of the festival, said the Hornbill Festival is one of the most celebrated events in the subcontinent as it holds great significance for the people of Nagaland.
He said it is a collaborative celebration of all Naga tribes at one venue with an intention to promote all the indigenous tribes of Nagaland, their culture and products to the rest of the world.
Rio stated that the Hornbill Festival is one of the largest indigenous festivals where the uniqueness and diversity of the Nagas’ cultural identity is showcased in all its grandeur. He also said this edition of the festival will be celebrated in six districts of the state.
He said the festival should be considered not only just the cultural festivity of mass get-togethers but a platform to experience the unique identity and cultural legacy while providing opportunities for the local economy to flourish. He also said the festival has evolved and getting bigger by the year.
Rio said the Hornbill Festival contributes immensely in enhancing the tourism brand of Nagaland. He urged the guests to discover and explore all the exciting activities such as indigenous games and sports, Naga cuisine, songs and dances, arts and craft, folklore, etc.
Greetings were delivered by Ambassador of Israel to India Naor Gilon, United States Consul General Melinda Pavek and Consul General of Germany Manfred Auster on the occasion.