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Festivals of North East India

The rich and vibrant culture of the northeast of India is showcased in the best way through their festivals and celebrations that mark important events like the sowing of crops, harvest, new year and other important events. Most of these festivals have celebrations that go on for several days and are characterised by tribal and folk music and dances. These celebrations are a great opportunity for people of various tribes to bond and make merry. Their colourful costumes, delectable local cuisines, soul-stirring music, warm and hospitable environment and festive and lively ambience are inviting to form a part of their festivities. Let’s know some more about the various festivals of the northeast region of India. 



Hornbill Festival

Tribes performing dances during the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland

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Where does it happen?

When does it happen?

The hornbill festival takes place annually in the first week of December.

How to get there?

Highlights of the festival 

  • The festival is one of the most sought after events in northeast India.
  • There are all kinds of competitions, from wrestling to beauty pageants, dances and much more.
  • The various Naga tribes showcase their dances, attires and make merry during the festivities.

Named after the most loved bird of Nagaland, the Hornbill festival is called the festival of festivals. Since Nagaland heavily relies on agriculture, most of its state festivals are centred around it. This is the reason they give high value to celebrating these festivals with full pomp and show. Nagaland is known to be home to a vast number of tribes and these festivals honour all 16 of them. The festival promotes tourism in the state and is a major attraction for people from all over the world. 


There is a lot of singing, dancing, art and craft activities like sculptures, paintings, wood carvings, sports, games, and food fairs among many others. There are many fashion shows, archery competitions, beauty pageants and wrestling tournaments. 

Mention intro of each festival as follows:
Where does it happen


What to look out for/ highlights

How to get there?


Post that you can put the description as written for each festival

Arunachal Pradesh 

Ziro Festival


The Ziro Music festival held in the Ziro Valley in Arunachal Pradesh

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A grand and sought-after music festival of the Ziro valley in Arunachal Pradesh is the Ziro Festival. This festival, taking place in September every year has made a lot of noise in the international arena as it has the best indie brands from all over the world participate and perform along with the local artists. A point to note is that Ziro is an eco-friendly festival in which local recyclable materials are used to make infrastructure. 



Anthurium Festival


The beautiful Anthurium flower grows extensively in Mizoram

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An important festival of Mizoram, the Anthurium festival is celebrated every year to boost tourism in the state. Anthurium is a famous flower which blooms in large quantities in September every year and this is when the festival takes place. The location for the festival is Reiek Tlang which is at a distance of 70 km from Aizwal, the capital of Mizoram. There are many highlights of the festival like music, dances and delectable local cuisines. 


Arunachal Pradesh

Losar Festival

Losar Festival in Arunachal Pradesh

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A festival marking the Tibetan New year in Arunachal Pradesh is Losar. The various tribes of the state namely Memba, Monpa, Sherdukpens, Khamba and Nah who are the followers of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism are the ones to celebrate this festival with all the fervour. It is a three-day festival that commences on February 11 every year. The spiritual significance ends on the third day but the festivities can go on for 10-15 days. 


Nongkrem Dance Festival

Girls dressed up in traditional attire for the Nongkrem festival

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The Khasi tribe of Meghalaya celebrate the five-day-long Nongkrem Dance Festival as a celebration of harvest marking the end of it and performing thanksgiving for the same. The festival is also characterised by a goat sacrifice ritual called ‘Pomblang’. Khasi tribe perform their traditional dance called the ‘Nongkrem Dance’ that young women perform dressed in beautiful vibrant attires teamed up with traditional jewellery. The festival is celebrated in November every year in the village of Spit in Meghalaya. 


Saga Dawa

Saga Dawa Festival in Sikkim

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A popular Buddhist festival celebrated in Sikkim is Saga Dawa which means ‘month of merits’ in the local dialect. Basically, the full moon appearing in the middle of the lunar month is called Saga Dawa. The festival is celebrated somewhere between May and June during the lunar month of the Tibetan calendar. 

Saga Dawa is like a commemoration of the life of Gautam Buddha right from his birth to death highlighting his teachings and enlightenment. There are big gatherings in monasteries to pray, light incense sticks and offer water. Turning prayer wheels, Gompas, chanting mantras and reading out of religious texts are the way of offering prayers and respect to Buddha. 


Ambubachi Mela

Kamakhya Temple in Assam where Ambubachi Mela is held every year

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One of the major festivals of Northeast India, Ambubachi Mela takes place in Guwahati, Assam. The festival is celebrated in the famous Kamakhya Temple in the month of June every year. A large number of devotees from all over India and also the world come to the temple. This is the reason this mela is also known as the ‘Mahakumbh of the East’. 

The belief goes that Goddess Kamakhya goes through her menstrual cycle during this time every year. This is the reason the temple is closed for three days and is considered unclean. The devotees still visit the temple premises to seek blessings from the Goddess even though the doors to the main temple are closed. After three days, the devotees are allowed to enter the temple after it reopens and prayers are offered to the deity. The Tantrik Cult is also seen performing many unusual rites during this time. 


Lui-Ngai-Ni Festival

Most of the Naga tribes celebrate Lui-Ngai-Ni, it is not only celebrated in Nagaland but in Manipur too. Every year, it is celebrated on 15 February to mark the season of sowing seeds. There is a lot of pomp and show with which this festival is celebrated to strengthen the bond of Naga tribes. Traditional dances, local delicacies and rituals of lighting fire to bless the seeds to be sown are the highlights of the festival. The message of this festival is to bring peace and harmony to the region. 

Arunachal Pradesh 

Dree Festival

Dree Festival in Arunachal Pradesh

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Dree is a festival celebrated by the Apatani Tribe of Nagaland but has become very popular among the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh as well. Every year, the festival is held on 5 July but the celebrations begin a day or two prior. The festival is the biggest one celebrated in the Ziro Valley to ensure that there is a good harvest that season. Traditional dances are performed for a good harvest. Wine brewing is done by women and people also enjoy many delicacies with rice or millet beer. 



Bihu Festival, Assam

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The Assamese New Year is welcomed by the Bohag Bihu and it is the most important festival of this state. Bihu is celebrated three times a year, the Maagh or Bhogali Bihu, Bohag or Rongali Bihu and Kaati or Kongali Bihu. 14 April every year sees the grand celebration of Bohag Bihu. the festival goes on for 7 days but the celebrations continue for almost a month. Young Assamese men and women perform the Bihu dance during the festival on stages set in various parts of the state for the whole month. Assamese delicacy Pitha is a speciality made of rice powder, coconut, wheat flour, jaggery and sesame. 


The myriad festivals in the northeast of India are indeed a treasure of beautiful performances, costumes, delicacies, prayers, celebration and thanksgiving. They will give you a sense of satisfaction and amazement when you experience these flamboyant festivities. Pack your bags and get in touch with us for a curated itinerary to experience these magical extravagant moments in the most quaint states of India. See you there!