Women performing as part of Sekrenyi Mini Hornbill Festival in Kohima, Nagaland on Tuesday

Sümi Hoho president Hekhushe Shikhu (right) and Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio while inaugurating the stalls during the second edition of the Angami Sekrenyi Mini Hornbill Festival in Kohima on Tuesday

Kohima: The Sümi Nagas have extended their hand towards shaping a shared future with the Angami Nagas in unity and brotherhood during the second edition of the Sekrenyi Mini Hornbill Festival held at Khouchiezie (Local ground) in Nagaland capital Kohima on Tuesday.

Sümi Hoho president Hekushe Shikhu, who graced the first day of the festival as honoured guest, in his address said that the Sümi and Angami Nagas by virtue of the geography have been neighbours since time immemorial with shared history.

Recounting how both men and women braved all challenges for Naga nationalism, he said that both communities always chose to respect each other and, in the course of time, will continue to work towards shaping a shared future with unity and brotherhood, for the prosperity of all.

Nagaland CM addressing the gathering

Acknowledging the hospitality of the Angamis on this day, he expressed hope that the Sümi Nagas will also be able to reciprocate the same in future. Shikhu said that Angamis are the “most blessed people” among the Nagas as its home —Kohima — is chosen to be the state’s capital, making it the “epicentre for growth and progress for the entire Naga people”.

Mentioning that many Sümi Nagas who left their own homes and villages to live and work in Kohima, he urged them to “be the chain of friendship and pillar of brotherhood between the Sümis and the Angamis”.

Saying that oral history reveals that Sümi was once the younger brother of Angami, having common culture and history, he said: “The Sümis strongly believe in our brotherhood and will always keep the Angami people close to our hearts as brothers.”

He also appealed the younger generation to value the culture, tradition, language and identity. Extending his festive blessing, he hoped that the festival will bring peace, unity and prosperity to the Angamis and make it shine upon the Nagas.

Chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who was the chief host of the festival, said that festival must be celebrated with joy and happiness. Recalling the struggling period of the Naga society, he said that festivals were not merrily celebrated due to fear in the minds and hearts of the people.

Rio added that a time has come for Nagas to be united. He said that the Nagas must contribute towards the growth of the economy.

Sekrenyi, which is the premier festival of the Angami Nagas, is celebrated annually on February 25. Under the PDA government’s initiative of Mini Hornbills coinciding with tribal festivals, the first Angami Sekrenyi Mini Hornbill was held last year. The three-day celebration which began with a formal ceremony on Tuesday will be followed by cultural extravaganzas for the next two days.

Thousands of Angami Nagas from all four regions — Northern, Southern, Western, Chakhro— from across Kohima and Dimapur districts attended the maiden festival in Kohima. Although an accurate number could not be ascertained till the filing of this report, organisers informed that this year’s festival has seen an increase in footfall.

Over 15 international tourists and 30 domestic tourists witnessed Sekrenyi festival, which is also known as the festival of “purification and sanctification”.

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