The festivities in Mongolia, the first word one hears is Naadam. In fact, since three thousand years, it is considered the most important national holiday of the country, for eight centuries it is the reenactment of the deeds of Chinggis Khan, Mongolian pride of Mongolia, and since 1921 is also the anniversary of the Mongol revolution.
During the Naadam, from 11 to 13 July, all the inhabitants of the country meet and Ulaanbaatar is slowly surrounded by the Ger of the nomads coming from all the “aimag” (regions), loading the atmosphere of passion and competitive tension. The Naadam is in fact the second oldest Olympiad in the world and lasts three days in which citizens compete in tight archery, fight and horse race (the entire name of the party, “Eriin Gurvan Naadam”, means in fact “The Three Main Games of Men”).
The actual celebration begins in the main square of Ulaanbaatar, where the army is framed by the speeches of the authorities and the president of the Republic. The public and the athletes then move to the central stadium where music and dances in medieval style follow one another for hours, accompanied by a long and magnificent parade of monks and appearing with the ancient uniforms of the warriors of Chinggis Khan, who recall their deeds.
Then we move on to the most awaited race, in which five hundred molossians fight in the specialty of the fight, their national sport, to conquer the title of Lion of Mongolia. Whoever wins at least two national titles is acclaimed as Titan. It is then up to the archers, men and women, who face each other in archery competitions, all barded according to the ancient warrior tradition. Finally, over six thousand riders give life to the most spectacular event, the race on horses, which takes place on a steppe plains in a tiresome race of 15 and 30 kilometers. Naadam can therefore be considered as the ideal opportunity to capture true Mongolian folklore.
Tsagaan Sar: in 1216, during the day of Tsagaan Sar, the Mongol emperor issued a decree that rewarded the population with gold and textiles, honored the elders and set free the captives without stains of infamous crimes. Since then, the country celebrates this date with the celebration of Tsagaan Sar (of the White Month) which is the Mongolian New Year and usually falls in the second half of February, to mark the transition from winter to spring. The Mongols party for five consecutive days, during which they choose the best clothes and prepare hundreds of buuz (the traditional steamed ravioli) and other typical dishes and drinks. Then ancient rituals are performed to remember the ancestors, with the arms raised the first dawn of the new year and exchange visits and greetings with relatives and friends and exchange gifts, all accompanied by games, songs and dances. The name of the party is related to the white color, which for the Mongols symbolizes happiness and consequently, giving or wearing something white, the new year will be noble and without stain
Feast of the Thousand Camels: established by a non-governmental organization to preserve the species of marvelous Bactrian camels, endangered as in the last twenty years its population has decreased significantly. It takes place in mid-February in some places in the Gobi desert and includes dances and traditional music but mostly camel-racing competitions: speed races, polo tournaments and even a beauty contest, where the nomads show off the most elegant animals and the most sumptuous saddles
National Mongolian Costume Festival: on July 24th in the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, meet with the wonders of national costumes and the most genuine folklore of the various ethnic groups in Mongolia. An opportunity for travelers to attend ancient religious rites, Tsam national dances and khoomii music: everything is performed as a kind of exorcism against evil spirits
Nomad Day: takes place on the 17th and 18th of every year in the Gun Galuut Nature Reserve and is a celebration of nomadic life, a sort of “games without frontiers” of the steppe. In the race there are teams that represent the various ethnic groups and face each other in original competitions of skill and knowledge. The first day closes with musical performances and contortion, while the second day is dedicated to “smiles from Mongolia”, a beauty contest reserved for young couples and their horses
Feast of the Eagle: The Eagle Festival is an annual traditional festival held in Bayan-Ulgii aimag, Mongolia. In the eagle festival, Kazakh eagle hunters celebrate their heritage and compete to catch small animals such as foxes and hares with specially trained golden eagles, showing off the skills both of the birds and their trainers. Prizes are awarded for speed, agility and accuracy, as well as for the best traditional Kazakh dress, and more.
The Eagle Festival is held during the first weekend in October, run by the Mongolian Eagle Hunter’s Association. Dark, rocky mountainous terrain forms the backdrop to the festivities, which incorporate an opening ceremony, parade, cultural exhibitions, demonstrations and handcrafts in the centre of the town of Ulgii, followed by sporting activities and competitions 4 kilometres (2.5 mile) outside of town towards the mountains. Dressed in full eagle hunting regalia and mounted on groomed decorated horses, the entrants compete for the awards of Best Turned Out Eagle and Owner; Best Eagle at Hunting Prey and Best Eagle at Locating Its Owner from a Distance.