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Traditional Festivals

Naadam

The Naadam festival is an independent state of the Mongols. Naadam is a traditional festival in Mongolia. The festival is also locally termed "eriin gurvan naadam"
(эрийн гурван наадам) "the three games of men". The games are Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery, and are held throughout the country during midsummer.
Women have started participating in the archery and girls in the horse-racing games, but not in Mongolian wrestling. Historians note that Naadam is from the Great
Mongolian Empire. The Naadam festival is only Mongolian festivals and Mongolians residing in the other country celebrate the traditional celebration.

 

Horse race:
Horses competing in the races are trained for at least a month before start the festival. There are six racing categories according to the age of the horses, starting from two-years-old horses to fully-grown horses and stallions including 24000 horse in two days. The horse races held outside Ulaanbaatar in the open fields. The two-year-old horses' race in a distance of 15 km whereas the fully-grown horses race 30 km. The races are performed by small (child) jockeys. They prefer to race without saddles to be as light and therefore as fast as possible. There is a lot to attract your attention to the horse racing field such as folk and horse shows, holiday meals, etc. except for the horse race.

 

Tsagaan sar
The White Moon festival is celebrated on the first through third days of the first lunar month. Tibet's Losar occurs on the same day as the Mongolian White Moon. Tsagaan Sar is one of the most important Mongolian holidays.

The customs of Tsagaan Sar are significantly different depending on the region. In Mongolia around the New Year for example, families burn candles at the altar symbolizing Buddhist enlightenment. Also people greet each other with holiday-specific greetings such as Амар байна уу? (Amar baina uu?), meaning "Are you living peacefully?" Mongols also visit friends and family on this day and exchange gifts. A typical Mongol family will meet in the home dwelling of the eldest in the family. Many people will be dressed in full garment of national Mongol costumes. When greeting their elders during the White Moon festival, Mongols perform the zolgokh greeting, grasping 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, typically blue, silk cloths called a khadag. After the ceremony, the extended family eats sheep's tail, mutton, rice with curds, dairy products, and buuz. It is also typical to drink airag and exchange gifts.

The day before Tsagaan Sar is called Bituun, the name of the lunar phase of a new or 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 three 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—usually immediate family, 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.

 

 

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