23rd Hornbill Festival culminates

(File photo: The Morung Express)

Kohima: The 23rd Hornbill Festival concluded at the main arena in Naga Heritage Village, Kisama on Saturday with Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio as the special guest, and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Judge, Supreme Court of India, as the honoured guest. Khehovi Yeputhomi, Advisor, Tourism and Art & Culture was the festival host. 

This year, the Hornbill Festival witnessed cultural performances presented by various cultural troupes from the State and outside. Events such as Naga Chef Season 9, HIPFEST, Chicken Coop Making competition, Naga Thali Eating competition, Catapult Target competition, flower, fruits, vegetable and spices competitions and the first ever Kisama Art Gallery etc. marked the 23rd Hornbill Festival. Other features included live demonstrations of traditional Naga Bamboo Sliver and Mat Making, Traditional Wood Carving, and artists working on their art etc. were displayed for the audience to experience the Naga way of life in person. 

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Addressing the gathering, Neiphiu Rio expressed gratitude to all the sponsors and partners for making the 23rd Hornbill Festival a success – The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Reckitt – Health and Hygiene Partner, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. – Digital Partner, Hornbill TV – Media Partner, Toyota – Hornbill Music Festival Partner, Tata Motors/ Indian Oil/ State Bank of India/ Reserve Bank of India/MSME.

Rio said that the festival was a place for people to gather and to share, to celebrate the past, the current and, most importantly, share the richness and uniqueness of the Naga heritage with the world. He pointed out that at present, “unity is something we all need, not just in our sector, but in our society, the unity to work together and to take the right and responsible steps, to continue moving forward together”. 

Rio then thanked the people of Nagaland, the cultural troupes and artists who had come from all parts of Nagaland, the tourists and visitors for their valuable presence during the Festival. He requested the tourists and visitors to be ambassadors of the unique Naga experience, so that more people will experience the Hornbill Festival in the coming years. 

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Greeting the gathering at the closing ceremony of the 23rd Hornbill Festival, Judge, Supreme Court of India, Sanjay Kishan Kaul said that the people of Nagaland are peace loving people who co-exist in harmony with their unique cultural and traditional system. He also said that Nagas are known not only for their bravery but hospitality and warmth which he said he had experienced during his stay in Nagaland. Calling Nagaland as ‘Land of Festivals,’ he said the state has been on the national and international map of tourism which is a positive step in ushering development in the State, and he hoped that the festival will bring people together from all across the globe and create a sense of unity in diversity.  

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who was accompanied by his wife, termed the customary laws and traditions of the Nagas as unique, which are protected under the Constitution of India, and added that the Supreme Court of India has been recognising and upholding the Naga customary laws. He stated that the judiciary is an important pillar of democracy which gives opportunity and mechanism for dispute resolution, and a strong, effective and vibrant judiciary being the backbone of the society, and to ensure that no one misses out the opportunity to approach courts due to social and economic barriers, he assured the people of Nagaland that as Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority, access to justice for all will be provided by bridging the gaps.

Meanwhile, a cultural presentation ‘Made in Nagaland’ was performed on the occasion. Chef Gary Mehigan, author and restaurateur, and one of the original judges of Master Chef Australia lit the Hornbill Bonfire, which was followed by the Unity Dance, representing the Naga tribes. 

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