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Tribal Culture of Nagaland Hornbill Festival

It was the second day in Kohima. Embarking on a journey to uncover the enchanting world of the Tribal culture of Nagaland Hornbill Festival. Nestled in the northeastern hills of India, Nagaland is home to a diverse tapestry of indigenous tribes.

As the first light of dawn begins to filter through the tent, the tranquil silence was suddenly pierced by the familiar crow of a rooster, echoing across the valley.
The senses slowly came alive attuned to the rhythm of nature’s alarm clock. Gradually emerging from the warmth of the sleeping bag, the cool mountain air invigorates my senses. I stepped out and made myself an instant coffee .

With a steaming cup of coffee in hand, I settle into a comfortable spot overlooking the breathtaking vista spread out before me.
The temperature hovering around 6 degrees Celsius, every sip of the hot coffee feels like a comforting embrace 🙂

I made my way to the Hornbill Festival site after breakfast around 9 am .The breakfast was ‘Pahadi Maggie ‘ 🙂

I’m not a big fan of Maggie but anything hot works when it’s freezing cold .

Read about my Day 1 experience at Hornbill Festival. 

Tribal Culture of Nagaland Hornbill Festival

I was eager to immerse myself in the rich Tribal culture of Nagaland Hornbill Festival. As I approached the venue, the air was alive with the sounds of traditional music and laughter.

I went to the main ground, marveling at the lively performances showcasing age-old dances, songs, and rituals.Each performance offered a glimpse into the unique heritage and customs of the diverse tribal communities . Engulfed in the festive atmosphere, I lose track of time.

After spending around 3 hours , I went straight to Angami Morung to grab Zutho .Brewed using a special variety of rice, the process of making Naga rice beer ‘Zutho’ is a labor of love.And it was served in a tall bamboo jar-like glass with a straw to stir . I paired with snails , prepared with the black sesame paste .As I take a sip, I am transported to a world of ancient traditions and communal celebration, where the simple act of sharing a drink fosters bonds.

Naga Morung

Each tribe in Nagaland has its own distinct identity, customs, and way of life, which are beautifully showcased in Morungs during the festival.

They also have an unique style of traditional attire, which includes colorful shawls, headgear, and ornaments, often adorned with intricate beadwork and embroidery.

Visitors have the opportunity to interact with the tribespeople, learn about their traditions.
You can participate in cultural activities such as folk dances, songs, and indigenous games.

I couldn’t stop myself dancing with the Yimchungers at their Morung . Like many other Naga tribes, the Yimchungers have a strong sense of community and kinship ties. The Yimchungers have a rich oral tradition, with folk songs, legends, and myths forming an integral part of their cultural heritage. They also have an unique style of traditional attire. That includes colorful shawls, headgear, and ornaments, often adorned with intricate beadwork and embroidery.

At Yimchunger Morung , Hornbill Festival Nagaland

Food Culture at Hornbill Festival

As I took the first bite, I was greeted by the rich aroma of the smoked pork mingling with the pungent scent of the axone. The flavour was intense and complex, with layers of savory, earthy, and slightly tangy !
The tender chunks of pork soak up the flavorful sauce, creating a mouthwatering experience with every bite.

The heat from the chili peppers adds a spicy kick that lingers on the tongue, perfectly complementing the rich flavors of the dish.

What is Axone 

Axone, also known as akhuni or fermented soybean, is a popular ingredient in Naga cuisine.
It has a pungent smell and a strong, savory flavor that adds depth to dishes. It’s often used in stews, curries, chutneys, and as a condiment.

Nagaland Hornbill Festival a cultural extravaganza like no other. From mesmerizing tribal dances to delectable indigenous cuisine, the journey promises to unravel the beauty and intricacies of tribal life.

So pack your bags, set your compass, and embark on an adventure to discover the soul-stirring Tribal culture of the Nagaland Hornbill Festival. It happens Dec 1-10th every year.

Stay tuned for the next blog to know about my Day 3 experience. And know about the the first beverage from northeast India crowned with the GI tag.

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