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Kisama/Kohima, 1 December (MTNews): The inaugural day of Nagaland’s premier Hornbill Festival witnessed an impressive turnout of 16,446 visitors at the Naga Heritage Village in Kisama which included 353 foreign tourists and 4,108 domestic tourists.

Hornbill opening

Opening the 10-day extravaganza, Chief Host Governor La Ganesan and Host Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio marked the occasion with the traditional gong ceremony. Distinguished guests, including US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti, British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis, Colombia’s Ambassador to India Dr. Victor Echeverri Jaramillo, and German Consul General to India Barbara Voss, added prestige to the festival.

Hornbill opening

The evening’s opening ceremony showcased a spectacular array of multi-genre musical and cultural performances, including ‘Call of the Hornbill’ by the Task Force for Music and Arts. This presentation vividly depicted the Naga way of life from the headhunting era to the dawn of Christianity, offering a rich exploration of the heritage and culture of the state’s multiple tribes.

Governor La Ganesan, addressing the gathering at Kisama, eloquently expressed that the Hornbill Festival seamlessly harmonizes tradition with modernity. He emphasized that the festivities not only unveil the rich tapestry of Naga heritage but also embody the spirit of unity in diversity. Beyond mere festivity, the celebration becomes a cultural exuberance, he said, extending an open invitation to the world to experience Naga hospitality and witness its diverse culture.

hornbill opening

In his welcome address at the 24th Hornbill Festival inaugural function, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio highlighted the event as an epitome of unity, diversity, and oneness among the Naga people. The festival, celebrating the Naga Way of Life, brings together tribes, sub-tribes, local communities, NGOs, and the government. Rio recalled the festival’s primary aim – to revive, protect, and preserve the richness and uniqueness of Naga heritage.

hornbill opening

Over the years, the festival has transcended its initial vision, evolving into a national and international sensation. The Chief Minister expressed gratitude to partner countries USA, Germany, and Colombia, as well as partner state Assam, hoping that the collaboration would strengthen ties, foster greater understanding, and create lasting memories.

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