Mongolia’s Naadam Festival: Why Go?

Mongolia’s Naadam Festival: Why Go?

Mongolia is about open space, with its boundless grassy steppe and great red Gobi Desert; about a place in history, with Genghis Khan and his mounted warriors leaving their mark on two continents; and about the culture of the nomad, who created a coherent and organic life revolving around four-legged creatures. It is said that in Mongolia livestock outnumber people thirteen to one.

Horse racing at a local Naadam Festival Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Horse racing at a local Naadam Festival
Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Festival Time in MongoliaThe annual Naadam Festival is the country’s favorite festival, showcasing Mongolia’s best in wrestling, horse racing and archery as well as uniquely Mongolian sports such as “ankle-bone shooting.” It originated many centuries ago, but in the 20th century this celebration of the nomad’s courage, strength, dexterity and marksmanship now commemorates July 11th, the anniversary of Mongolia’s independence from China.

Travelers to Ulaanbaatar join local people to cheer on the horses with their school-age riders, admire the stately wrestlers in their eagle costumes, and marvel at the long archery bows, based on the same design that Genghis’ warriors used.

Mongolian wrestling is a highlight at the Naadam Festival in UlaanBaatar <br>Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Mongolian wrestling is a highlight at the Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar
Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Taking aim in archery competition at Mongolia's Naadam Festival <br>Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Taking aim in archery competition at Mongolia’s Naadam Festival
Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Blogging to MongoliaA few years ago, MIR travelers Helge Pedersen and Karen Ofsthus blogged their way along the Trans-Siberian tracks and down to Ulaanbaatar for Mongolia’s Naadam Festival aboard the luxury Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express private train. Their blog offers deep and memorable highlights of their journey.

Traditional hats are the fashion rage at Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photo credit: Helge Pedersen.

Traditional hats are the fashion rage at Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photo credit: Helge Pedersen.

Travel to the Naadam Festival with MIR

Learn more about MIR tours that travel to Mongolia, where you can experience the Naadam Festival for yourself. You can also book a custom private journey

MIR offers several trips that coincide with Naadam:

 

Riders in traditional costumes at the Opening Ceremonies of the Gobi Naadam Festival Photo: Alla Shishkina

Riders in traditional costumes at the Opening Ceremonies of the Gobi Naadam Festival
Photo: Alla Shishkina

 

 (Top photo credit: Helge Pedersen)

PUBLISHED: June 9, 2014

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