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Festivals in Mongolia

Festivals in MongoliaThe Naadam Festival is the major Mongolian holiday and a wonderful time to experience the culture and people of this amazing land. The festival has its roots in the nomad wedding assemblies and hunting extravaganzas of the Mongol Army. The opening ceremony features marches and music from soldiers, monks and athletes before the real fun begins! In the Naadam Stadium the three sporting passions of Mongolians, horse racing, wrestling and archery, are played out over 2 days. But if you don't want to watch sport all the time, there's plenty to see and do outside - food, music, crafts or just people watching.

Once you have had your fill of the sports, people watching and local food and culture, we will fly out to the Gobi desert to visit sand dunes and the land of dinosaurs with some of the most spectacular sunsets you will ever see. This is the best time to see the Mongolian people and soak up the party atmosphere!

Festivals in MongoliaWe love them and we'd love them more if they were uniform across the globe. Holidays and Festivals have a habit of happening after you've worked out your travel schedule to the last nanosecond. Find out how your trip figures with calendars around the world with JourneyMart's exhaustive list.

The Mongolians have the beautiful traditional festivals and celebrations that they have kept for centuries. These include the fantastic Naadam Festival and Tsagaan Sar (White Month) Celebration. Nowadays, several fantastic new festivals such as the Nomads' Day, Camel Festival etc are initiated by some very creative Mongols to preserve traditional Mongolian heritage. We enlist the most important events and the events are listed in their date order.

Festivals in MongoliaMongolian festivals are fantastic and truly a lifetime experience. Last years, some good Mongolian tourism events are taking place as well as Mongolia festivals like Mongolia Naadam Festival Holiday, Camel Festival, Ice Festival, Nomads' Day Festival and some more. We welcome you to come and take part in Mongolia festival and Mongolia events with us!

WHITE MONTH NATIONAL HOLIDAY - Traditional Mongolian Lunar New Year
Tsagaan Sar or White Month is one of Mongolia's two major and long-awaited holidays, the other being Naadam in July. For Mongols, Tsagaan Sar is not only an ancient holiday marking the end of winter and the beginning of a new year's cycle, but is also a time for unification and reinforcing social bonds. Preparations for the festive start well ahead of time. Several families usually gather in the eldest man's ger, where the holiday will take place. Since the holiday means all relatives, neighbors, friends and guests will be treated to a lavish meal, women make more than a thousand buuz and dumplings. Families all across the country stock-up on food, dairy, mild milk vodka and other specialties for the occasion

Travel south to the Gobi Desert to attend the renowned "Thousand Camel Festival," organized by a local non-governmental organization working to protect and preserve the Bactrian camel population, which has been steadily declining over the past twelve years. This extraodinary festival allows travelers a rare opportunity to interact with and learn first-hand about these amazing animals and the camel herders' nomadic lifestyle. Highlights of the festival include camel races, performances by traditional Mongolian musicians and dancers, and visits to significant paleontological and cultural sites of the Gobi. Attend the camel races at the Thousand Camel Festival, a unique opportunity to witness the speed and agility of Bactrian camels.

The GREAT NAADAM FESTIVAL - Biggest National Holiday of Mongolia
The Naadam festival is the biggest and most joyful celebration for Mongolians. It takes place on the 11-12th of July each year. The festival originated from the era of Khunnu Empire and was originally organized as a competition to test the skills of Mongolian Warriors of different tribes. The festival comprises the "Three Manly Sports": wrestling, horse racing and archery. A fascinating and interesting event for all is where the 9 White Flags of Chinghis Khan are carried in a ceremonial parade from the State Parliament House to the Central Stadium. 512-1024 wrestlers compete on the green field of the State Central Stadium-there is no time limit, no weight category. There are 6 different categories of horse racing depending on the age of horses. Archery, originating from time immemorial, is the oldest sport of the Mongols. Traditionally, this was only men's sport but nowadays both men and women compete in separate divisions.

THE GOBI NAADAM FESTIVAL. - Khongor Sand Dunes, South Gobi.
This Naadam festival is organized for those who came late for Naadam festival. Taking place at the Khongor sand dunes - the Gobi Desert "Khongor" Naadam is the pride of the Gobi people. The Many Three Games of the Mongols - archery, horse racing and wrestling compeitions and lots of music and dance will amuse you on this day in the Gobi.

The "NOMADS' DAY" FESTIVAL - Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve, Tuv province
The two-day festival will be held near the Steppe Nomads Ger Camp in the tranquil and scenic surroundings of the Kherlen River and Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve of Mongolia. Let's see, hear, feel, taste and experience the nomadic lifestyle of real Mongols! We are presenting different types of the nomadic customs and ceremonies including challenging games between kids, horsemen, women and families. You will be a true nomad only on this day. Under the starry sky of the night you will enjoy watching Mongolian unique culture, such as long song, dancing, horse-head fiddle melody and throat singing.

GOLDEN EAGLE FESTIVAL - Ulgii, Bayan Ulgii province
Kazakhs are renowned for their unique and extraordinary skill in using Golden Eagles to hunt small prey. The Golden Eagle Festival is organized in order to help revive this remarkable tradition and promote it among the younger generations in an effort to balance the preservation of Mongolia's past traditions. The festival is arranged by locals that are committed to preserving traditional Kazakh heritage. Attend the spectacular Golden Eagle Festival and experience the sight of Kazakhs on horseback, dressed in their traditional dark coats and scarlet hats, with Golden Eagles hovering on their arms.

Eagle Hunting Festival
For last few years Bayan -Olgii Kazakhs held in early October the Eagle Hunting Festival, a colorful and picturesque event attracting the best hunters and birds, and an important celebration for the local community.

The festival begins with each hunter displaying the hunting outfits and elaborate, beautifully adorned accessories. Later, the hunting eagles are evaluated for their skills. The eagles are released from a rock cliff, while their owners stand below and signal for them to land upon their arms, as they do during hunting. Those with the fastest times and best technique are awarded the highest scores.

In addition to the eagle hunting contests, the participants play such traditional Kazakh games known as kekbar. Two teams compete to pass a goat skin over to their side of the field and the winner throws the skin onto the gher of his choice and this family is expected to host a party for everyone. The events ends in grand dostarkhan, or a party at which the winners are toasted and great hunting tales are shared. This event represents the very essence of the culture of nomadic Kazakhs and if you like to have once-in-life experience.

Golden Eagles
For hunting purpose Kazakhs catch and train Golden Eagles, mighty birds of prey common throughout the Central Asia. These huge birds weight up to 6.5 kilograms with wingspan of seven or eight feet. The talons or claws on an eagle's toes are curved and razor-sharp for catching and holding their prey. This gave eagles the name raptor which comes from a Latin word "rapere" meaning to grip or grasp.

Eagles are "birds of prey," which means they hunt for their food. Unlike other birds, which eat seeds or insects flying short distance, eagles fly great distances in order to find game. Therefore eagles mastered the skill of soaring. They ride the warm flows of air and can speed up to twenty miles per hour almost without effort. The eagle's eyesight is especially remarkable. With vision about eight times sharper than human, they can spot a fox or rabbit up to a mile away.

Usually Kazakh hunters go for female birds as they one third heavier than males and much more aggressive. Eagles can live up to 50 years but most hunters keep the birds for about 10 years and then release them back into the wild.

Eagle Training
Hunters choose either to snatch a young, few months old chick from nest at mountain tops or lure a young birds with pigeons and trap them.
"Eagle chicks are more tame as they used to humans and do not attack children or sheep. While grown ups are more aggressive and better hunters," says Sembai, well known hunter from Nogoon Nuur soum. In early summer hunters go to mountains to find eagle nests and snatch an young chick. To catch elder birds hunters lay out a net baited with fresh meat and wait for the bird to come feed and entangle itself.

Young birds are kept for about a month or two during which they are fed with washed out meat from master hands and become used to the presence of humans. In late summer they are 'broken' by being tied to a wooden block so that they fall when they try to fly away. During this time they are not given food. After few days they become exhausted and ready for training.

They are sat on a pole called a tugir and one of young men pulls a lure made of small animal skins in front of the bird. When she attacks the lure called shirga, they are given some meat as reward. The eagles are trained to hunt marmots, rabbits and small foxes. The hunters eventually train the eagle to hunt down foxes, even wolves.

The Tsam Dance     
The Tsam Dance is a theatric Buddhist ceremony performed to influence fate. It has been performed in Mongolia for around two hundred years, being partly derived from a similar ceremony in Tibet,  where many Mongolian Buddhist traditions were brought from. Our guests are often able to witness one of these fascinating events.

Roaring Hooves International Festival of Music     
The Roaring Hooves International Live Music Festival, which is held in the land of Chinggis Khaan, offers a meeting of two different cultures of our time: contemporary music from many countries will meet with the powerful and traditional Mongolian music. In Ulaanbaatar every year.

The Mongolian Camel Festival     
The Mongolian two humped Bactrain Camel is nicknamed the "Gobi ship" by local people, and inhabits the Gobi desert area in the Sourhern part of Mongolia. As an inseparable part of the life of nomadic Mongolians, it has become traditional in Mongolia to organize a Camel Festival annually.

The Mongolian Lunar New Year     
Tsagaan sar or White Month is the Lunar Calendar New Year, which has been celebrated in Mongolia many centuries. During the Tsagaan Sar , Mongolian's dress in traditional outfits, prepare traditional food, pay tribute to religious and hereditary customs, and relish singing and having fun. It should be noted that each year the Tsagaan sar may fall on different dates of the Gregorian Calendar in January or February.

The Nadaam Festival of Mongolia     
The Naadam Festival, a traditional celebration inherited from olden days, is the biggest national event for Mongolians. The word "Nadam" means "games", and the festival's full title is Eriin gurvan naadam, which can be translated as the Three Manly Games. They consist of traditional wrestling, horseracing, and archery. It is where the most expert marksmen from all over the Mongolia gather to test their courage and strength.

The Khazak Eagle Festival of Mongolia     
One of the oldest, most revered and spectacular celebrations for Kazakh people, passed down from generation to generation, is hunting with trained eagles. It exhibits the real pride of the Kazakhs. They annually hold an exceptional feast called the Eagle Hunting Festival in the extreme air of the majestic Altai mountains, among the river glaciers and beautiful landscape in Bayan-Ulgii province.

The Ice Festival of Mongolia     
Mongolians near Hovsgol lake celebrate the annual Ice Holiday in Febuary on the ice of the stunning fresh water lake, in the Northwest of the country. The events involve all sorts of activities and competition, such as Ice Sumo, building a ger with ice, horse sleigh rides, and skating. The two-day event also serves as a shaman ceremony of offering and provides a fascinating insight into Tsaatan people's way of life.
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