Since you are looking for a list of festivals in Nagaland, the hornbill festival is at the top of every Nagaland festival list. The festival gets its name from the State Bird of Nagaland, the Hornbill and is one of the most popular festivals in Nagaland.
However, it is not an ancient festival. The government organised the first ever hornbill festival in 2000. People celebrate it grandly to encourage inter-tribal interactions. The first ever hornbill festival was highly successful and significantly increased the number of tourists.
When is Hornbill celebrated: The first week of December in Nagaland is from December 1 to December 7 every year.
Where: Kisama village, which is 12km from Kohima on National Highway 39.
What to Expect: You will see regional delicacies, ethnic dance performances, games and religious ceremonies—Moreover, the market for tribal artworks like paintings, sculptures and wooden carvings.
Aoleng festival is a celebration in which The Konyak tribe welcomes spring. This Nagaland festival is also known as Aoleang Monyu and is one of the important harvest festivals. However, Aoleng does not only welcome spring but also celebrates the beginning of a new year. Locals will celebrate this great festival, hoping for a better harvest and a prosperous future for Nagaland.
During the three days of the festive week, the people start their preparations by weaving new clothes, making food and traditional beer, and sacrificing animals. On the fourth day, tribal people begin to dress up in the best way possible and perform folk dances. People start cleaning the houses and the village area in the last two days.
When: During the first week of April every year.
Where: The Konyak Naga tribe celebrates the festival in Mon district of Nagaland.
What To Expect: Religious services, music and dance performances.
Naknyulem is one of the most joyful and fun festivals. The Chang tribe celebrates this festival in Nagaland to rejoice in the friendship, culture and tradition of the tribe. It is amusing to watch weird games and listen to a woman play the mystical sound of the ‘Kongkhim’, a Naga instrument.
During this festival, people use Ngunam to decorate their houses, a special kind of tree in Nagaland. On the first day, you will see women making steamed biscuits from rice. On the second day, there are competitions and activities, and lastly, on the third day, men will beat log drums from dawn till sunrise.
When: 29th, 30th and 31st July
Where: Tuensang district
What to Expect: Dance, music and numerous exciting games like Tug-of-war, Long jump, high jump and other games where a person takes cooked meat with his mouth
Sekrenyi Festival means sanctification festival. The Angami Nagas celebrate this festival for ten to fifteen days. It is locally known as Phounsanyi and has great spiritual importance. During this festival, people intend to cleanse their souls and body from all of their sins. People believe that no one can cultivate or harvest the fields until they have purified themselves.
On the starting days of the festival, there are different rituals. However, the last few days of the Sekrenyi Festival are pretty average. In the last days, people mostly spend time with their loved ones in the village and on the final day everyone eats meals together.
When: February 17 – March 2
What to expect: Different variety of food, fun, and festivities.
Tsukheneye is a famous festival among the Chakhesang Tribe, lasting four days. Men take ceremonial baths in the river for purification. On the first day, they sacrifice a rooster in the morning. People believe that this festival affects the harvest for the upcoming year. However, no woman participates in this festival. It is a festival of joy and prays for a fruitful year ahead.
When: During the second week of March
What to expect: Bright colours and happiness everywhere
The Kuki tribe of Nagaland celebrates the famous Mim Kut festival in Nagaland. In this beautiful festival, people celebrate the successful harvesting of the season’s last crop, Maize. You must also know that Maize is called ‘Mim’ in the local language of Nagaland.
People believe that the souls that have left the world during the festival visit their families to bless them. Therefore, families prepare rice wine, homemade bread, fresh vegetables and sometimes handmade jewellery for their departed ancestors.
When: During August and September, for two to three days
Where: People celebrate Mim Kut Festival in various parts of Nagaland, especially in Mizoram
What to expect: You can enjoy the beautiful culture, fairs, participation in multiple events, music, and dance
Moatsii Mong is the Nagaland festival that the Ao tribe celebrates with passion. This festival is also related to agricultural practices like other festivals in Nagaland, but people observe it after adequately cleaning the field and sowing seeds. The Ao people get ready in the best way possible to sit around a local fire called sangpangtu.
The Ao tribe will perform exuberant songs and dances, and women will serve wine and meat to everyone. Also, the people will pray and express gratitude to the forests and their ancestors through other rituals.
When: First of May to May 3
Where: Mokokchung district
What to expect: Folk songs and dances performed by all men and women who dress up in their traditional attire, games like tug of war
The Sumi tribe in Nagaland celebrates the tuluni festival. The people of the Sumi tribe want to bring harmony among themselves, and also, it is the festival to make the new couples feel at home. People exchange gifts to celebrate this Nagaland festival. Also, families make different dishes and eat them together.
It is all done to increase harmony and love among themselves. This festival is primarily for the people that work hard on farms. They relax during this festival and celebrate with delight.
When: 8th of July
Where: Sumi Nagas of Nagaland
What to expect: Execution of various age-old rituals and ceremonies
For the Zeliang community, the Hega Festival is among the most critical and significant festivals. For them, it is a marital festival in which people together thank God for the blessings. There are various performances during the festival. However, the performances are the practices of their prayers. The Zeliang community also celebrates Hega festival as a kind of valentines day in Nagaland. During this festival, young people who love each other get married.
Where: All over the Nagaland
What to expect: Cultural dances, popular music genres, ceremonies, and rituals.