THE NAADAM FESTIVAL
Naadam festival is an age old celebration of the test of courage, strength, dexterity, and marksmanship of the nomads. It is held annually from July '1 1- 1 3th throughout the country. The three "manly games" consist of horse racing, wrestling and archery.
The race is over 30 km in distance and is raced by young riders some as young as six years old. Wresting starts with traditional "eagle dance" that is supposed to lift the wrestlers spirit. Archery dates back to the times of Chinggis Khaan's warriors.
People also compete in ankle bone shooting.Horse racing: In average, 400 horses of six age categories, or 2400 horses participate in a 2-day horseracing in Ulaanbaatar. It is surprising that 26000 horses, including local smaller Naadam horses participate in a race all over the country. The horses race for 15-35 km putting forth all strength. Hardening a horse for a race requires experience and patience.
Wrestling: 512-1024 wrestlers compete in the State Naadam wrestling contest, while 32-128 wrestlers participate in local smaller Naadams. The Mongols revere strength since the early times, and boys begin wrestling as soon as they start walking. There's no weight category and no fixed arena in Mongolian wrestling, which makes it more challenging and competitive.
Archery: Archery is an integral part of the highlights in the history of the Mongols. In the 13th century every family had bows and arrows in addition to horse-head fiddle. Not only men but also women used to shoot with bow and arrow. It is recorded that Genghis Khan's warrior Esunkhei Mergen hit a target at 330 fathoms (approx. 520 meters) at a celebration just after they had conquered a part of China. Nowadays, the standard shooting distance for men archers is 75 m while it is 60 m for the ladies, men shoot 40 and ladies shoot 20 arrows at the Naadam.
Read some of our customers' experiences and photos about the Naadam Festival and their video of Mongolia including Naadam festival".
THE EAGLE FESTIVAL
In western Mongolia, deep within the Altai mountain range, an ancient tradition of hunting with Golden Eagles is still alive.
The Kazakhs of Mongolia train their eagles to hunt for rabbits and foxes. Once a year, hunters from all over Bayan-Olgii province gather to celebrate this traditional skill and compete against each other challenges that show off the abilities of both birds and their trainers.Prizes are awarded for the fastest eagle, the best traditional Kazakh dress, and more.
Various folklore performances are given during the festival. We take you to participate in this regional festival and also to visit with Kazakh families, join the hunters on hunting trips, and see different sights in Bayan Olgii province, home of the Kazakh minority in Mongolia.
THE ICE FESTIVAL
Mongolians have been celebrating the Ice Festival for 10 years. Every year it becomes more interesting and diverse. Each February, residents of the Khovsgol Lake area gather for the festival, which is organized by the Governor's Office of Khovsgol, the Office of Khatgal, and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Besides Mongolians, foreign tourists also travel to see the festival.
The two day event is also a shamanist ceremony of offering and provides a fascinating glimpse into the Tsaatan people's way of life. Citizens near the lake profit from the festival by selling unique goods made from cow horn, bones, and livestock skin. Tourists like the goods because it is so difficult to work with bone or cow's horns and because they are strong and elegant materials.
THE LUNAR YEAR
Lunar Year is the Mongolian lunisolar New Year festival.
The Lunar year holiday is celebrated two months after the first new moon following the winter solstice. Tsagaan Sar is one of the most important Mongolian holidays People greet each other by saying 'Amar mend uu?' or 'Amar bain uu?', a very formal greeting which one says to one's elders. Mongolians also visit friends and family on this day and exchange gifts. A typical Mongolian family will meet in the home dwelling of the eldest in the family.
Many people will be dressed in full garment of national Mongolian costumes. When greeting their elders during the White Moon festival, Mongolians grasp them by their elbows to show support for them. The eldest receives greetings from each member of the family except for his/her spouse. During the greeting ceremony, family members hold long pieces of colored cloth called khadag. After the ceremony, the extended family eats rice with curds, dairy products and buuz and drinks airag, and exchanges gifts.
The day before Tsagaan Sar is called Bituun, the name of the lunar phase of dark moon. The lunar phases are Bituun (dark moon), Shined (new crescent moon), Tergel (full moon), and Huuchid (waxing moon). On the Bituun day, people thoroughly clean around home, herders also clean the livestock barns and shades, to meet the New Year fresh. The Bituun ceremony also includes burning candles to symbolize enlightenment of the samsara and all sentient beings and putting 3 pieces of ice at the doorway so that the horse of the deity Palden Lhamo could drink as the deity is believed to visit every household on this day. In the evening, families gather together–immediate family usually, in contrast to the large feast gatherings of White Moon day–and see out the old year eating dairy products and buuz. Traditionally, Mongolians settle all issues and repay all debts from the old year by this day.
Traditional food for the festival includes dairy products, rice with curds (tsagaa) or rice with raisin (berees), a pyramid of traditional cookies erected on a large dish in a special fashion symbolising Mount Sumeru or Shambhala realm, a grilled side of sheep and minced beef or minced mutton steamed inside pastry, a dish known as buuz, horse meat and traditional cookies. Tsagaan Sar is a lavish feast, requiring preparation days in advance, as the women make large quantities of buuz and freeze them to save for the holiday.
There are 29 ethnic groups currently living in Mongolia and each has its own style of deel, distinguishable by cut, color and decoration. The different tribal costumes may be obvious to Mongolian nationals but tend to go unnoticed by western visitors. Deels are tailored to be comfortable and practical, taking into account occupation, gender, location and of course the time of year. You may also notice that the deels of married women are far more extravagantly decorated than those of their single counterparts.
The National Costume Festival is held annually at Gorhi-Terelj National Park, 65 km east of Ulaanbaatar. The festival is a celebration and exhibition of Mongolian national costume accompanied by folk performances. The festival provides an opportunity to learn about the customs, clothing and dances of various Mongolian minority tribes. The National Costume Festival is officially accredited by the Mongolian Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism.
THE NATIONAL COSTUME FESTIVAL
The National Costume Festival is a bright example of Mongolian culture that introduces the audience to the marvels of national costumes and folk performances of Mongolia. During the festival guests are introduced to customs of various Mongolian ethnic groups and to the religious "Tsam" dance coupled with khoomii (throat singing).· Deel's are the National dress costume of Mongolia. They are traditionally made from a mixture of silks, textiles and sheep skins that are decorated with embellishments.
Tsaatan people also profit from the festival. In addition to offering tsaa (reindeer) rides, they sell godon gutal (boots wrapped in reindeer hide). Godon gutals are expensive because they're warm, strong and of a high-quality. The lake's ice is amazingly fresh and transparent. It seems to be a mirror, sparkling incredibly when the sun shines.
Sometimes it seems as if the lake is covered in silver or diamonds. Locals construct many ice sculptures for the festival. Featured this year were an ice ger, an ice pyramid, ice slides and other sculptures. Traveling by horse-drawn sled is the best way to cross the ice. It's an unbelievable, unbeatable experience.
THE CAMEL FESTIVAL
Thousand camel's festival annually held in Bulgan soum(provincial unit) of Umnugobi province, is going to happen in 5,6th of March in 2015.
Officials announced this year will be the festival of " thousand camelS".
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