Naadam is the most important holiday event for Mongolians. Therefore, there are a lot of tourists direct to Mongolia during Naadam festival. But most of them end up only scratching the surface of the rituals and misinterpreting their meanings, and even city Mongolians are unaware of some of the great things happening. Hereby, pay attention for this news and catch up must see things for Naadam festival before you visit.
Mongolian horse racing, wrestling and archery are consisted in Naadam three manly games.
During the festival, participating horses are divided into six categories based on their ages and race for 10-26 kms. Horse jockeys are usually between 5 and 13. Due to the lengthy distance of the horseracing, jockeys are preferred to be light, yet experienced. During the race, jockeys not only ride horses, but also they are responsible for cherishing their horses with a special song called “giingoo” and raising their spirits. Several months before the race, both horses and jockeys go through intense training. Especially the horses are given a special diet and treated with tenderness during the said period. In the race, horses and their jockeys coming in first five are rewarded and revered.
Mongolian wrestling has certain uniqueness such as no weight or field limitation, expanded time and countless tricks. Mongolian wrestlers do a “special dance”, before and after the wrestling, resembling mighty birds like eagles, hawks, and vultures both as an expression of elegance/ strength and warm-up for the games. During the Naadam festival, each five-and-more round winning wrestler has been given different titles, and one elite wrestler was once given the title “Champion”.
During the Naadam festival, all male, female and child archers wear traditional costumes and compete in three categories: Khalkh, Buriad and Uriankhai, which have differences in the bows and arrows used, as well as the distance of the target. Khalh is the name of the majority group of Mongolia. It is played by teams of ten. Each archer is given four arrows; the team must hit 33 “sur”, which is a small woven or wooden cylinder used as target. Men shoot their arrows from 75 meters away while women shoot theirs from 65 meters away.
It is a game of players flicking a small rectangular soum at a stack of anklebones nine tokhoi (4.72 m) away. Anklebones of sheep and other livestock have been a source of recreation for nomad children, and this is one of them. UNECSO officially announced that it has inscribed Mongolian ankle bone shooting on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014.
Deeltei Mongol Parade
Jul 13th, when the Deeltei Mongol Parade marches around Central Square, like an army of mellow Mongols peacefully invading the city and persuading its citizens to wear traditional clothing. Mongolian traditional costume “Deel” is a variety of styles depending Mongolia’s ethnic groups and geographical positions. You can stand by and enjoy them to take pictures or you might as well join them.
Around Central Stadium, which will be teeming with events and spectators between July 10 and 12, you should visit and try bite of Naadam khuushuur. Khuushuur is a crispy, deep-fried flat dumpling. Khuushuur is for Mongolia what sushi is for Japan. Also you should try airag, or fermented mare’s milk. Airag is a staple drink for any festive occasion. Mongols even drink airag as punishment for losing in khuruu, a Mongolian rock-stone-scissors game, or dembee, a Mongolian finger guessing and singing game.