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Culture of Nagaland

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Nagaland, the land of festivals, has a rich culture as there have been many tribes in the region since time immemorial. There are several tribes in Nagaland, around sixteen of them are considered as the main tribes. Out of the sixteen the largest tribes in the state are Angami, Ao, Konyak, Lotha and Sumi tribes. Tribe traditions and allegiance have an important place in the life of Nagas.

In Nagaland, weaving is an ancient traditional art which is handed down through generations. Each tribe has its individual unique designs and colors. Shawls, bags, decorative spears, wood carvings and bamboo works are some of the items the tribes make. The design of the shawl among the tribes of Nagaland signifies the social status of the wearer.

The two important components of the traditional Naga culture are folk songs and dances. The traditions and culture of Nagaland has been kept alive through the medium of folk tales and songs. The folk songs are seasonal, romantic as well as historical, narrating the tales of their legendary ancestors and incidents.

The various tribes of Nagaland always celebrate their festivals with enthusiasm and zeal. They regard their festivals as sacred, so participation for everyone in the festivals is obligatory. Most of the festivals in Nagaland revolve around agriculture as most of the people in the state rely on agriculture.

Some of the important festivals which are celebrated in the state are Aoling, Bushu, Hornbill, Mimkut, Moatsu, Mongmong, Nyaknylum, Sekrenyi, Tokhu Emong, Tsukhenyie, Tuluni, Yemshe, etc. Naga tribal dances give an insight into the people of Nagaland. War dances and other dances which belong to distinctive Naga tribes are considered as an art form.

Each tribe in the state of Nagaland has its own unique language. Nagas speak over twenty different dialects which belong to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. Traditional Naga languages do not have a script. Thus, Christian missionaries used the Roman script to support the script of these languages. In 1967, English was declared as the official language of Nagaland while Nagamese, a kind of simplified Assamese, is the lingua franca.

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