Mongolian National Festival Naadam: Things remember before visit Mongolia during Naadam
Naadam or Three manly games festival is Mongolia’s ancient way of celebration which has been practiced till now. As noted in the book of Secret history of Mongolia of 13th century the celebration took place in Khuran month or July. In modern days, Naadam has been celebrated throughout the country every year on July 11-13 since the People’s revolution. It is a complex of horse racing, wrestling and archery games, and traditional arts such as folk art, knowledge and handcraft.
Wrestling: Wrestling is unique in a way that 512 selected wrestlers from all the regions compete in enormous wide field, with great skills and agility. Since ancient times, physical power has been highly respected among Mongols and young children used to grow up wrestling.
Archery: One of the main parts of Mongolian military history is unarguably the art of archery. During 13th century every home had archery and morin khuur (horse head fiddle) set at the back side of their homes. Both man and woman used to practice this game. Scientists have proved and agreed that the success of Chinggis khaan’s military was based the warriors’ skill of shooting bow and arrow, and strong horses. Warriors were able to shoot at the target from the back of a galloping horse. One of the three manly games is archery.
Horse racing: In general, 2400 horses, divided into 6 different age categories by 400, race during only two days. The distance of the race covers between 20-30 km area depending on the age of the horse and it makes Mongolian horse racing unique in the world. It is fascinating for the visitors to see 100-500 horses race at one time. Horse race trainer select a horse to train during the four seasons of the year and one month before the Naadam festival horses are carefully taken care for daily intake of grass and water.
Things to remember:
Before the opening ceremony of Naadam festival, it is usually highly crowded inside and outside of the central stadium, so be sure to leave your hotel at least 1 hour 30 min before the opening ceremony starts.
- After the opening ceremony, 1st round of wrestling competition starts. At the same time, archery and ankle bone shooting game commence. You can visit them right after each other with a short visit to save time.
- The tickets of the Naadam opening ceremony can be purchased from tour operators.
- After lunch time, you may visit the field of horse racing. Please keep in mind there are limited number of seats, dust coming from horses arriving to the finishing line, arrival and departure time of the horses can be moved back and forth.
Mongolian Naadam festival was inscribed in 2010 on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.