Taking into consideration the diverse cultural markers, the State Government in the year 2000 desirous of promoting tourism, conceived the Hornbill Festival to bring together the sixteen diverse tribes of Nagaland to celebrate together, one common festival espousing the spirit of unity in diversity through a weeklong celebration to coincide with the Nagaland Statehood Day on 1st December. The hornbill bird was chosen in collective reverence to the bird held sacred by the tribes and enshrined in the cultural ethos of the Nagas in symbolic signatures to equate status, merit, wealth, as decorative head piece eligible only to the deserving. It was also chosen to create awareness to the fragile status of the hornbill slowing disappearing from its natural habitat.
The Nagaland Hornbill Festival or also known as the Nagaland Festival is a cultural mosaic of diverse multi-ethnicity sprung up by the several tribes that inhabit the State. Each community speaks a different language which has thrown up a patois `Nagamese’ spoken by the diverse groups who follow distinct customary laws and practices from each other, besides wearing of specific textiles that identifies the wearer to the community he/she belongs to and so on. Other than cultural differences as well as some shared similarities, all the tribes celebrate their festivals revolving around the agrarian calendar making Nagaland by default- a land of festivals.