EVENTS

NAADAM

The Naadam festival is the biggest festival of the year for Mongolians. Usually occurring in July, it runs for 3 days in all parts of the country and highlights the greatest athletes in horse racing, archery, and wrestling. Mongolia’s most popular sports. Women participate in all but wrestling category. The word Naadam means game or competition in Mongolian. Competitions take place days on the first two and merry making is reserved for the third. This festival has been held for centuries as a form of memorial celebration, as an annual sacrificial ritual honoring various mountain gods or to celebrate a community endeavor.

The horse races are broken down into 6 categories based on the age of the horses. For example: Two year old horses race for 16 kilometer, 7 year old horses race for 30 kilometer. The race is conducted on the open grasslands with no set track or course. Children from the ages of 5 to 13 are chosen as jockeys since this guarantees that the race tests the horses skill and not the riders.

The sport of archery is originated around the 11th century, during the time of Khanate warfare. Contestants dress in traditional costumes and use a bent bow constructed of horn, bark, and wood. The arrows, made from willow branches and vulture feathers are shot at round, leather targets with grey, yellow or red rings. Men must stand 75 meters and women 60 meters from the target. Judges standing near the targets, assess each shot with a cry, called a uukhai, and a raised hand. The winning archer is the one who hits the targets the most times.

There are two important differences. First, there are no weight divisions. A small wrestler can be pitted against someone two times his weight. This can lead to some very interesting matches. Second, there are no time limits. The loser of a match is the wrestler who falls first. A fall is when any part of a wrestlers body, except his hands, or feet, touches the ground. Titles given to winner of a number of rounds: Falcon to those winning 5 rounds, Elephant for 7 rounds, Lion to the one winning the whole tournament.

TSAGAAN SAR - LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION

(White Moon) is a Mongolian New Lunar Year. It has been celebrated for centuries with other Asian nations during the end of January, February. Tsagaan sar is one of the two main holidays celebrated by Mongolian’s and so it needs lots of preparation. Such as: sew a new deel(Mongolian traditional dress) for all the members, cleaning all the dirts, make literally thousands of buuz(steamed dumplings), and some other salads. It marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring and the new year’s cycle. The day before New Year’s day is known as Bituun, meaning “to close down”. At the end of the old year there is a celebration called Bituuleg. There are main three days and it continuous more than week. Mongolian’s should celebrate this festival as possible as properly cause it shows to the others how do they passing the old year, How is the family going etc. No one is left out of this. Young and old, male and female will spend equal time in different activities. Some family who have old people they cook sheep with as big tail as possible, wishing the family wealth and prosperity. By this festival brothers and sisters, all the relationships can meet each other once in a year altogether. So the long celebration starts when younger people visit older ones to pay their respects. Another greeting custom is that the people exchange their snuff bottles, offering them with open right hand while touching under the right elbow with the open left hand. After greetings, all kinds of serve will start from the Airag(fermented milk) etc. At the end to give a gift is a most important.

ICE FESTIVAL

This dreamt experiencing festival happens in coldest winter. And it is possible to see a mystery of how nomads survive with their 5 snouts of pastoral animals within temperature as drops as -30 degrees. And also extraordinary experience as riding Mongolian horse or camel in the snow covered vast white steppe and stay with hospitable nomads in their traditional cultures. The ice to skate usually freezes about 1.5 meter thick in Mongolia during its silver season.