• Cultural Events
  • Naadam Festival

  • The biggest event and national pride of the year for Mongolians is the well known Naadam Festival, occurs at the height of summer in July. The festival is also called “Eriin Gurvan Naadam,” meaning “Three Manly Games”. It is a true test of manhood in such traditional games as horse racing, archery and wrestling.

    This ancient festival dates back many centuries and was originally created as a celebration during weddings or spiritual gatherings. After 1921, the Naadam Festival became an official celebration of the National Revolution Victory. On July 11 the revolutionaries mounted a successful attack, Urguu, a capital city, and expelled Chinese military garrison.

    Wrestling – The tournanment is the focal point of the festival. Altogether 512-1024 wrestlers step onto the arena at the start of the wrestling tournament. Wrestlers come up slowly and imitating the flight of mythical Phoenix bird. Wrestlers then divide into two groups on two sides of the arena. After a signal they converge in a fierce battle. After half an hour the weakest ones are knocked out and the winners of the first round emerge, proudly waving their hands imitating eagle’s flights. The tournament lasts for two days and after eight matches only the strongest ones remain to wrestle for the title of a Titan, the highest rank. Each Mongolian wrestlers has a title of his own; Lion, Elephant and Falcon.

    Horse racing – Naadam festival’s horse race opens with a parade of all participants, and young jockeys sing Tumnii Ekh or Leader of Ten Thousand Horses.The number of horses to race is not limited, and some two thousands horses race for 30 km in five age groups. Though, young, two-year-old colts run for shorter, only 15km distance. As for riders, only children aged 4-12 are allowed to be jockeys. The racing takes place not on a special track but across a rugged terrain. The first five winning horses are called airag ones according to old tradition. A young jockey is given cup of airag, some of which is poured over the horse’s head and back.

    Archery – Archery was an inseparable part of Mongolian history. Mongolian bows are very tight ones, so that it requires a pure strength to stretch. The team of 5-7 archers should hit 33 leather fist-sized basket targets from a distance of 75 meters. During the game, judges stand in two sides next to the target. Each time archer prepares for a short, they would start slowly the so called Uukhai song. As soon as the arrow hits the target, the song’s melody changes and an experienced archer immediately learns about how many targets were hit. The winning archer is titled mergen, meaning sharpshooter, the one who hits the targets the most times.

  • Tsagaan Sar

  • Tsagaan Sar - or the White Moon is one of the Mongolia’s major long waited holiday. For Mongols, Tsagaan Sar is not only an ancient holiday marking the end of winter and the beginning of new year’s cycle, but is also a time for unification and reinforcing social bonds. Lunar New Year, as in many countries, calculated on a lunar calendar sometime between the end of January to February.

    Bituun - the Lunar New Year’s Eve or means last dinner of the outgoing year. It takes place on the last day of the lunar month. Beforehand, all the business of the past year must be completed; debts paid and good relationship remained. A huge meal is prepared and all the guests must try all the dishes including large meat dumplings cooked in stock, diary products and milk tea.

    The arrival of the New Year is summoned early in the morning. The family gathers to the ger and rituals of congratulations begin. All family members come to the oldest man in the family one by one. They place their hands out, palms up and he places his palms down. The youngest person bow and tell him Amar baina uu? means May you be healthy and happy! From New Year’s Day until end of February, all Mongols will greet each other this way.

    When the ritual is over, the hosts and their guests go into ger where a special table is set. In the very centre is placed a huge plate with boiled meat and a back of lamb and tale. The host cuts pieces of lamb, serving the eldest first. The women pour airag and milk vodka. During the meal, each person should drink at least three small cups. All of the first month of the New Year is considered a holiday and the visits and congratulations continue. One is well fed during every visit, which popular belief states will bring prosperity throughout the year.

  • Mongolian National Costume Festival

  • July 8 (Annually)

    Mongolian National Costume is a bright example of culture that introduces foreign guests and tourists to the marvels of national costumes and folk performances in the country. The festival will take place at “Guru” tourist camp in the beautiful Gorkhi Terelj National Park located 65 km from Ulaanbaatar to the east. During the festival you will experience customs of various Mongolian minorities as well as view dances including Tsam and hear national music plus huumii, the throat singing.

  • The Grand Orchestra of the Mongolian National Song and Dance

  • August 5 (Annually)

    The Grand Orchestra of the Mongolian National Song and Dance consists of stringed, wind, and percussion instruments. The Grand Orchestra will perform outdoors amongst the green landscape of beautiful Gorkhi Terelj National Park. You will hear spectacular masterpieces of classical music and the best of Mongolian melodies at the same time. The Grand Orchestra is composed of nearly 80 musicians performing on traditional Mongolian musical instruments including morin huur (horse headed fiddle), ikh huur (grand fiddle), huuchir (two string instrument), shudraga (three stringed lute), yatga (zither or harp), flute, bishguur (woodwind instrument), trumpet horn, drums, cymbals and jolts.

  • Ceremony of Summoning Spirits of the Great Chinggis Khaan’s Imperial Guards

  • August 12 (Annually)

    This Festival is specifically organized to introduce foreign guests to the life, culture and history of Mongolians including the Great Chinggis Khaan, other kings, queens, nobles, warriors and nomadic people that lived in the 13th century. This festival includes events such as sporting games, cultural performances, introduction to nomadic traditions, an offering ceremony to ovoo, and an “Open Fire Feast”. As one of the specific features of the festival, nearly 100 warriors on horseback along with about 200 additional specialists will participate. Various experts, scientists, seamstresses, and blacksmiths will take part in organizing these events and contribute to the making of costumes and other wares that will be used throughout the festival. It will be a great opportunity for you to witness the summoning of ancestral spirits by Mongolian shamans, learn about shaman customs, meet courageous warriors of Chinggis Khaan and experience the ancient nomadic civilization. It is the day to transfer into the ancient period of history and create the memory of a lifetime.

  • Golden Naadam

  • August 21 (Annually)

    The Naadam Festival, a traditional celebration inherited from olden days, is the biggest national event for the Mongolians. The word “Naadam” means games. The festival’s full title is “Eriin Gurvan Naadam” which can be translated as the “Three Manly Games”. It consists of wrestling, horseracing and archery. It is a tradition for the strongest wrestlers, the fastest horses, and expert marksmen from all over the Mongolian countryside to gather to test their courage, strength and coolness.

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