At the Crossroads of Europe & Asia

Photo credit: World Nomad Games

Embrace Nomadic Life through Festivals in Mongolia & Kazakhstan

Naadam, World Nomad Games or the Golden Eagle Festival

What better way to experience the culture of a destination than through a local festival?  If you seek to travel to places where cultural traditions can still be witnessed in daily life, and where fabled histories come alive at centuries-old festivals still held today, then read on to learn more about a trio of celebrations taking place in July and September that you won’t want to miss! Whether you’re looking to join an escorted small group tour, or experience a private journey, we’ll take you to nomadic lands and guide you on a journey through time.

1. Naadam Festival in Mongolia – July 2024 & 2025

The annual Naadam Festival stands as the country’s most cherished celebration, recognized as part of UNESCO’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” Highlighting Mongolia’s excellence in wrestling, horse racing, and archery, it also features distinctive Mongolian sports like “ankle-bone shooting.” Naadam has evolved over the past 850 years, incorporating both Buddhist and shamanist roots, and becoming over time a unifying tribal tradition. In the 20th century this commemoration of nomadic virtues—courage, strength, dexterity, and marksmanship—officially became a national observation of Mongolia’s July 11th independence day from China, and is celebrated with parades and pageantry.

2. World Nomad Games, Astana, Kazakhstan – Sept. 2024

The biennial World Nomad Games have been held since 2014, celebrating nomadic traditions, games, and sports from nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples worldwide. The first three events occurred in the mountainous region of Kyrgyzstan, with the fourth taking place in Turkey. In 2024, the fifth installment will be hosted on the steppes of central Kazakhstan, specifically in its capital city, Astana. Join the Games to experience firsthand how nomads from around the world come together to showcase their prowess and mastery of the skills, sports and games unique to their cultural heritage.

3. Golden Eagle Festival in Mongolia – September 2024

In Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia’s remote westernmost province, ethnic Kazakhs are preserving a 6,000-year-old tradition—hunting with majestic golden eagles, among the world’s largest predatory birds. The festival commemorates this captivating tradition of golden eagle hunting, bringing together hunters from various regions to showcase their skills and the deep connection they share with their avian companions. Experience the Golden Eagle Festival in Mongolia, where proficient eagle hunters demonstrate the speed, expertise, and training of their birds. Take the opportunity to explore this remote land of nomads.

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PUBLISHED: March 3, 2024

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