Nagaland’s Famous Hornbill Festival Celebrations Go Virtual amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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The Naga Heritage Village, the epicentre of the world famous Hornbill Festival is quiet this year with the celebrations turned online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Located about 12 km away from Nagaland capital Kohima the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama, has witnessed thousands of footfall of tourists every year to witness the rich and diverse culture of most tribes of Nagas, vividly and colourfully displayed in the form of folk music and traditional dance besides exposition and availability of exotic food, crafts and art and numerous life and customs.

Dubbed as the “Festival of Festivals” here, the 10-day Hornbill Festival is celebrated every year from December 1 to 10.

Thousands of tourists across the country and from abroad every year have witnessed the colourful festival.

According to a Tourism Department official, in 2019, the festival generated business worth Rs 100 crore over 10 days and attracted footfall of over 2.70 lakh tourists, including 3,015 foreign visitors and guests, signifying the magnitude the authority and the people of the state attach to the festival, the biggest in the northeast region, comprising eight states.

“All 18 tribes of the state every year have been taking part in the mega festival and displaying their cultural and traditional extravaganza. Though we are painful for not being able to organise the carnival but we also cannot ignore the safety of our people. By turning the celebration in virtual mode, the government has kept the event lively even during the pandemic,” the official said.

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The official of the Nagaland Tourism Department on Saturday said that the state government had earlier decided to celebrate the “Hornbill Festival 2020” in a complete virtual mode only through various audio visual media channels and social media platforms.

The Tourism Department earlier in a notification said that the “Hornbill Festival 2020” would be celebrated in completely virtual mode and would be telecasted through the Doordarshan and two other private television channels.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio tweeted: “I wish the citizens of Nagaland, well-wishers and friends all around the world, a happy virtual Hornbill Festival 2020. When the world reopens, Nagaland will be ready with a tourism narrative in tune with a post Covid-19 scenario and to welcome you to our beautiful land.”

In his Statehood Day message, Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi said: “We used to celebrate it in previous years with all the gaiety and cultural splendour of the people of the state during Hornbill Festival. This year, due to the global pandemic Covid-19, unfortunately we may not be able to do it at that scale. However, true to the indomitable Naga spirit, we will do so in our own households observing the needed Covid protocols.”

The first edition of the “Hornbill Festival” was held in 2000.

The festival coincides with the statehood day celebrations on December 1. With a populations of 20 lakh, the mountainous Nagaland attained statehood on December 1, 1963.



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