Holidays in Mongolia
Mongolia is quite a harsh and peculiar country, here still half of the population leads a nomadic lifestyle, constantly moving with their herds.
The bulk of the urban population is concentrated in the capital, and national holidays are a very important part of local culture and politics. The authorities try to make sure that there are as many unifying factors as possible, which would unite all the people. It should be mentioned that there are not many holidays in Mongolia especially in comparison with other Asian countries but every holiday is celebrated with big scope and very, very spiritually.
Nadom in Mongolia
It is held in the middle of summer and is one of the biggest celebrations. For example, the main events, which the president of Mongolia opens with his visit (as well as closes) gather stadium, which gathers 15 thousand people. Sometimes even more, in general, for this country it is quite an impressive figure.
It is worth saying that the history of this holiday has its roots in the distant past – in the time of Genghis Khan. True, the celebration has changed the date, but the general meaning and order of the celebration has been preserved. In particular, wrestling competitions are still held here: the men are dressed in very specific attire, these are special shoes, swimming trunks and a short top that helps to make a grip. At the same time the whole action is imbued with great ritualism: the fight begins with a special dance, and after it ends, the loser must pass under the arm of the winner, thus showing a sign of his superiority over himself.
It is noteworthy that the concept of weight category is absent here.
Also these days the archers compete, the women are on a par with the men, only the fairer sex is given a distance of 10 meters less than the guys. That’s the difference. The most apt winner of the competition in the capital will receive a prize of one and a half million tugriks, this is a very serious money for Mongolia, so they really try. Competitions are held for several days, attract a lot of tourists, largely due to the preserved color, which even separately do not need to be shown. Many participants, for example, still live in yurts.
Another tradition is horse racing. Here the participants, that is, riders can be from 5 years old. Often teenagers at the age of 14 win, they already know how to handle horses very well. In contrast to the European tradition, here the races on short distances are not welcomed – the race is held throughout 30 kilometers! And the more dust the horses raise, the better. This is considered a good omen.
In general, the winners are treated especially well here. Thus, the best wrestler throws fried grains to share his luck, and the winning horse is wiped and then wipes his forehead with sweat. This, too, is considered a good omen.
In general, by the way Nadom passes, many people make a riddle for themselves about how the year will go. The festivities are held in the areas where they were born, so of course there may be several winners – each county has its own, and the capital has its own.
New Year’s Eve is celebrated differently here. And according to the Eastern calendar, which means the date fluctuates. But they prepare for it in advance, so in this respect there is no difference. And the Gregorian calendar, that is, from December 31 to January 13, there is an obvious influence of Russia. However, the Mongolians still have a low life in winter, since the activity in the country is still largely tied to agriculture. And in the absence of activities, many do not mind going out, celebrating something, making each other small or luxurious gifts, whoever can.
For example, in recent years, there has been a revival of interest in national history and roots. And young people who come to big cities, not only to Mongolia, but also to China, for example, to study, order luxurious outfits – deli dresses. They say that they don’t wear such clothes in the steppe, of course, but the elaborately embroidered suits are sure to please the elderly. And some sew for themselves to show off to their friends and be the most dressed up.
On New Year’s Day, regardless of when it is celebrated, it is customary to give each other bright red ribbons with wishes drawn in gold. This is what replaces the cards. It is believed that the more a person receives such wishes, the more they are loved and therefore happier.
The giving of gifts is a separate story. No mail can find a nomadic family. That’s why they ask friends, relatives, and nomads like them to pass it on. One Mongolian in the steppe will find another much faster. Although there is much less movement in the cold season, which is noted by many.
It’s not exactly an official holiday, but it’s a very fun holiday or even a holiday period. It begins with New Year’s Day and gives everyone a chance to continue to relax and have fun.
In general, the entire period lasts from mid-January to mid-February, as if absorbing all the activities that are usually carried out in this period. The events take place in a certain sequence, for example, the younger ones necessarily come to the older ones to show their respect, to emphasize their special attitude. At the very beginning of Tsagaan Sara, in the morning they make a round of the house, it is a tribute to the home, there is something sacred and special here.
Of course, gifts are given, lots of them. The above mentioned deli – but it’s not the only thing that is presented. This can be something useful, most often clothes, a beautiful painted cloth, crockery is considered a very good option. Men can also be presented with weapons.
Also this holiday has a special meaning. For example, Mongolian schoolchildren get a vacation, a full 5 days, to go home and see their families. It is the only opportunity to see their parents in winter.
There is also a special meaning for adults: everyone gathers together, socializes, gets to know each other better, and introduces new family members: some show off a new baby, some introduce a new wife to the house. They also show off their horses and dogs and have fun competitions. This gathering at the same time avoids incest: each family member will know everyone by sight and no one will be confused.
Since during the White month there is a lot of free time, a lot of attention is paid to cooking. For example, they make bouzou, it just must be on the table! Holiday pastries are also made. Khushur somewhat resembles dumplings, only they are fried, not boiled. A lot of people drink salty Mongolian tea, and there are even competitions between different families to see who can make it better.
Residents of the countryside believe that in the capital they make a surrogate. For example, they add cow’s milk to sutay, that very tea, while the authentic one requires camel’s milk. As a result, some particularly brave tourists decide to venture out into the steppes to experience authentic nomadic life.
One of the youngest Mongolian holidays, celebrated on the first day of the first winter month on the lunar calendar. But despite the fact that it is relatively new, it has already managed to attract attention, for example, by the fact that it takes place under the patronage of the president. In the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, solemn processions in national costume are organized, the huge statue of Genghis Khan is honored, and awards named after him are presented. Many public figures perform and other cultural events take place.
Against the background of the other holidays, closely related to the ethnic side of life, with customs and traditions, this one stands out quite strongly. It looks much more modern… And the fact that it is designed to revive national pride and remind of history looks quite a contrast. But, nevertheless, the holiday itself is noteworthy.
All about Holidays in Mongolia
Mongolia is an amazing country with the beauty of unspoiled wildlife and an unusual mix of cultures. It continues to be a mystery to residents of many countries even now that you can travel freely to different countries.
A trip to Mongolia is a great opportunity to travel to an Asian country, feel the spirit of this state, learn about the culture of nomadic peoples and visit protected areas where Europeans have rarely set foot.
Mongolians are extremely hospitable and friendly. They are always respectful to tourists coming to their country.
The festivals of Mongolia are varied. They are divided into state, national, and religious holidays.
National holidays of Mongolia
Tsagan Sara Holiday
One of the most revered and respected holidays for the Mongolian people is Tsagan Sara or White Month, a celebration of the New Year according to the lunar calendar. It is considered that at the end of winter and at the very beginning of spring, when there is a new moon, a new eastern year begins for Mongolians. Thus, according to the eastern calendar, the New Year holiday falls at the beginning of the White Month. According to the lunar calendar each year the date of the holiday is calculated.
- The celebration of Tsagan Sar is an ancient folk tradition. Once Marco Polo, who was present at the celebration of the white month in the Peking court in the 13th century, left a record of it in his notes.
In Buddhist temples on the eve of the holiday there are usually festive services. In prayers, Mongolians ask for happiness in the New Year. After a prayer service, bonfires are made, offerings are made to the fire, and old things are burned in the flames.
After all the rites are performed by the Mongolians, they start visiting each other, congratulating each other and giving gifts. Airag koumiss, Arkhi milk vodka, Tarak yogurt, Bislag milk cheese, and Arul dried curd are traditional dishes on the holiday table.
As a rule, Mongolians do not celebrate the New Year at midnight, as is customary in most countries, but on the first day of the New Year – early in the morning.
Holiday of Nadom
The national holiday of Nadom is celebrated every year between 11th and 13th of July to commemorate the victory of the 1921 People’s Revolution. Most Mongolians like to celebrate Nadom in the city of Ulaanbaatar.
During the festival, competitions in favorite national sports are usually organized: horse racing, wrestling, archery.
A great number of guests and competitors come to Nadom. Mass horse races are the culmination of the holiday.
These horse races usually involve girls and boys between the ages of 6 and 13. Children are trained in advance. The distance of the race depends on the age of the horse: adult horses compete for 30 kilometers, five- and four-year-olds – for 28 kilometers, and inoculated horses – for 10 kilometers.
Mongolian national wrestling also has its own ritual, rules and specific features:
- The winner is the one who touches the ground first;
- there are no age and weight categories;
- in the fight there is no time limit;
- After the end of the fight the loser must pass under the hand of the winner raised up.
Also in Mongolian wrestling a large number of techniques are used, of which there are over 400. The title of Falcon is awarded to the winner of the fifth round, Elephant to the seventh round, and Lion to the ninth round (the most important winner).
Archery is divided into two types: Hasa Harva and Hanan Harva. Women are allowed to shoot from a distance of 60 meters and men from 75 meters.