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Hornbill Festival: Inside Naga morungs—part II

By Our Correspondent Updated: Dec 08, 2019 10:58 pm

Our Correspondent

Kisama, Dec. 6 (EMN): The off-the-screen preparation of Hornbill Festival, even after 20 years since it was first launched, have found it difficult to come to the fore—prompting Eastern Mirror to take on the role of a (casual) visitor and enquire.


For the Kukis, it was important for them to pass the ancestral traditions to the younger generation. For this reason, Kuki youths consisting mostly of students were chosen over elderly persons, to perform at the Hornbill Festival.

According to Hengonlen Lhoujem, a leader at Kuki Students’ Organisation Nagaland, the Kuki cultural troupe from Phaipijang in Dimapur consisted only of students. They were “preferred” in order for them to pass these traditions to the next generation; ‘else, it might be forgotten’.

He went on to add that one of the students had to come to Kisama, right after semester examinations, while the rest of the troupes were on their semester break. Altogether, 26 participants—three female and 23 male are presenting six items at the cultural extravaganza.


The Mech Kachari cultural troupe, comprising 45 people are representing the Kachari community this year. Usually, the Mech Kachari and Dimasa Kachari perform at the annual Hornbill Festival, on rotational basis.

Maihamti Longmailai, a volunteer said that majority of their troupe comprise of students. The practise for newcomers (performing for first time) lasted for nearly three months on a weekly basis, she added.

She, along with other volunteers, lauded the state government’s effort to keep the site plastic-free as well as restricting smoking in public places. Comparing to previous years, they found this year to be one of the cleanest and appreciated the department concerned and associations for taking care of cleanliness. 

Some of the challenges, they said, were the shortage of restrooms.


The youngest participant (cultural troupe) this year, probably must be from the Rengma cultural troupe. A 15-year-old girl, all set to appear her class ten examination, is part of the cultural troupe of the Tsogin Range Public Organisation. Asked how she is managing her studies alongside practice, she said it was not a problem as the practises were on holidays.

The cultural troupe has been practising since October, to perform at the Hornbill Festival, according to the group leader Kenyunino Bukh. The first few weeks of practise, he said, was a daily affair from 9 am till 3 pm.


The Tichipami village cultural troupe is representing the Sumi community—consisting of a total of 51 participants who have travelled more than 250 km to perform at Kisama, according to team leader Ghuka Sumi.

Despite the distance, he expressed happiness at the department concerned and organisers for providing them with the opportunity to represent the Sumi community this year. Out of 51 participants, only two are female as all the nine items they are presenting are traditionally performed by men only.

The Sumi special dish of pork with axone, he said, was the centre of attraction among visitors. Sumi morung is one of the morungs that has restricted selling of alcohol, including local brews.


The Sangtam cultural troupe was represented by the Tizisa Culture Club of Sanphure village in Kiphire district. The team leader of the troupe Sepikyu, said that it took them just 20 days to master their ancestral traditions, as majority of them were already familiar with it.

There are 45 participants—four female and 41 male, with majority of the troupe comprising elderly men. The troupe had travelled for more than 260 km to perform for the first time, he added.

Rijiju to grace HF tomorrow

The Minister of State (Independent charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports and Minority Affairs, Kiren Rijiju and the Union Minister of State (IC) for Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), PMO, Personnel, Pension and Public Grievances, Atomic Energy and Space, Jitendra Singh will grace the seventh day of the ongoing Hornbill Festival at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama.

The honoured guests are Virginie Coretval, Consul General France (morning session), and K Moses Chalai (IAS), secretary NEC.

Meanwhile, an update from the department of Tourism informed that there were 13,754 visitors on the sixth day.  

Chakhesang Naga tribesmen singing a folk song outside, and atop, their morung at Kisama on Friday. (EM Images/Caisii Mao)
By Our Correspondent Updated: Dec 08, 2019 10:58:31 pm