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Mongolian Naadam Festival


Naadam - Men's three Games
Mongolians have celebrated Naadam festival since the 1921 Revolution Mongols. Naadam is held every summer between         11-13 July at the Central Stadium in Ulaanbaatar and all provinces. The Naadam consists three games of men are: Wrestling, Archery and Horse racing.
Wrestling/ Buhiin barildaan
Wrestling is the most popular sport in Mongolia and all people, including women, know and like to watch wrestling. The wrestlers are greatly respected and honored people in Mongolia, and there are many traditions and rituals to do with wrestling and wrestlers. Wrestling culture is very hierarchal as well as materialistic .
Mongolian Naadam Festival - Wrestling
Horse Race/ Morinii uraldaan
It is every one's favorite part of the Naadam. The Horserace of the Naadam festival takes place about 30 km out of Ulan Bator. Many horsemen and horse-trainers travel as far as 1000 km with their fastest horses to the capital city, to participate in the race.
There are 6 six races for horses of different ages (Daaga (1 year), Shudlen (2 years) Hyazaalan (4 years), Soyolon (5 years), Ih nas (above 7 years old) and Azarga (Stallion)) and each race has about 400 horses in average participating. Normally, 6 to12 year old boys and girls are jockeys (wearing colorful dresses with numbers) and some of them race without any saddles for the sake of being lighter and more convenient for the horse.
Archery/ Num sum
Although it is named "Men's 3 games", women participate in archery competition. Archers use bent bow made out of layered horn (of wild mountain goats), bark and wood. Usually arrows are made from willow and feathers are from vultures and other birds of prey. The distance from the stand to the target is different for men and women. Men shot from 75 meters and women from 60 m. After each shot judges standing near the target sing Uuhai song and raises their hands in the air to show how good was the shot. An archer who shot the target more than others becomes Champion or Mergen.
Opening ceremony
The opening ceremony starts at 11am, after brought 9 yak-tail banners from Parliament house to the Naadam stadium and includes an impressive march of monks and athletes, plus song and dance routines. The opening ceremony is the great highlight of Mongolia.