Festivals

Naadam Festival

The origins of the Naadam Festival go long way back into times primordial when horse was domesticated and first hunters learned how to ride them. Though the historical evidence is not available, the festival roots can be traced in the culture to such Central Asian nomadic tribes as Huns, Scyphians and Turks.
As early as 3,000 year B.C. the holiday become a regular national event when all the nomad tribes would come together to show the best of their physical strength, riding and shooting skills, qualities vital for the survival of nomad herders and hunters.
This tradition of annual festival survived throughout the centuries of turbulent history of Central Asian nomads.
After 1921, the Naadam Festival became an official celebration of the National Revolution’s victory. On June 11 the revolutionaries mounted a successful attack on Urgoo, the capital city, and expelled Chinese military garrison.
Nowadays, it is simply the Naadam Festival.
The festival begins with a ceremonious ride by medieval warriors bearing the Nine Banners of Chinggis Khaan. It has replaced the seven decades long tradition of military parades and demonstrations praising the Communist party.

Wrestling

Every year 512 wrestlers compete in the national Naadam and a wrestler who won the nine rounds becomes a winner.  By the rules of Mongolian wrestling, a wrestler who lost in one round is dismissed.  It is a great honor to wrestle in the national Naadam, and Mongolian wrestlers train hard during the year.  The winner is called ‘turuu bukh’ and ‘uzuur bukh’ is the one who won the second place.  Nachin (Falcon) title is given to a wrestler who won in 5 rounds, Zaan (Elephant) is a winner of 7 rounds.  Arslan (Lion) is a title, bestowed to the winner of the first place in a national wrestling match.  A man, who has been “Arslan” twice, is honored with the title of Avarga (Champion).

Horse racing

In horseracing horses of six different ages groups participate beginning from 2 to 6.  Six horse races are held separately, according to the age of horses.  Racetracks vary according to the horse’s age: 6 miles (10 km) for two-year-old colts, 17 miles (28 km) for stallions.  In some races, more than 700 horses take part.  Young children, of ages 6-8 participate in the horserace.  The 5 horses, to come first in a race, are called “Airagdakh”, which means that the horses are win treated with airag (fermented mare milk).  The title “Tumniy Ekh” (“The first one among Thousands”) is given to a winner horse.

Archery

Archery is another Naadam game in which many best archers from all over the country competes.  The winner is given a title “Erkhiy Mergen Kharvaach” (“Marksman”).

THE NATIONAL DAY – NAADAM FESTIVAL PROGRAM

JULY 10

8.00-10.20       Khyazaalan horse racing (3 years old horse) at Khui Doloon  Khudag (Horse racing ground)

10.00               Shagai (ankle bone) shooting at Shagai shooting terrace

10.30               Opening of an Ethnic archery competition at Archery range

10.00-11.00     National Flag hoisting ceremony at Sukhbaatar Square

12.00-12.30     Paying respect to the Chinggis Khan Statue and wreath laying at the D. Sukhbaatar statue ceremony at Sukhbaatar Square

14.00-16.20     “Shudlen” horse racing (2 years old horse) at Khui Doloon Khudag

15.00-18.00     “Utmost joy” Gala-Concert in honor of the national Day – Naadam Festival at Central Palace of Culture of Ulaanbaatar city

JULY 11

8.00-10.20       Azarga horse racing (Stallion) at Khui Doloon Khudag

9.00                 Quarter-final of the “shagai” (ankle bone) shooting at Shagai shooting terrace

11.00               Ceremony of hoisting the State-Nine-White Banners at the Central Stadium

11.10               Opening of the National Day – Naadam Festival by the President of Mongolia, H.E. Mr. Tsakhia Elbegdorj

11.00               Opening of the “Shagai” (ankle bone) shooting at Shagai shooting terrace

11.20               Opening ceremony of the National Day – Naadam Festival (Special program)

11.50-15.00     Wrestling (First round)

12.30               Semi-final of the “shagai” (ankle bone shooting) at Shagai shooting terrace

13.30-14.00     Archery show Archery range

13.30-16.00     Junior’s wrestling (First round)

14.00-16.20     Ikh nas horse racing (7 year old horse) at Khui Doloon Khudag

14.00-17.00     Ethnic Archery at Archery range

15.20-18.00     Wrestling (Second round)

16.20-18.00     Junior’s wrestling (Second round)

19.00-23.00     “An evening in Ulaanbaatar” concert at Sukhbaatar square

23.00               Fireworks

JULY 12

7.00-9.20         “Soyolon” horse racing (4 year old horse) at Khui Doloon Khudag

9.00-10.40       Wrestling (Third round)

9.00                 “Shagai” shooting (Final) at Shagai shooting terrace

9.00-14.00       Archery (Final) at Archer’s arena

10.00-11.00     Junior’s wrestling (Third round)

11.00-13.00     “Daaga” horse racing (1 year old horse) at Khui Doloon Khudag

11.00-12.20     Wrestling (Fourth round)

11.20-12.00     Junior’s wrestling (Fourth round)

13.30               Award giving ceremony to the winners of “Shagai” shooting at Shagai shooting terrace

14.10-14.30     Archery demonstration performed by leading marksmen of Mongolia Shagai shooting terrace

14.30-15.20     Wrestling (Fifth round)

15.10-16.00     Junior’s wrestling (Fifth round)

15.20-15.30     H.E. Mr. Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia, presents award to the winners of Archery and “Shagai” shooting

15.30-16.10     Wrestling (Sixth round)

16.10-16.40     Award giving ceremony to winners of horse racing. H.E. Mr. Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia, presents gifts to the jockeys of the winning horses

16.40-17.20     Wrestling (Seventh round)

16.40-17.10     Junior’s wrestling (Sixth round)

17.25-17.45     H.E. Mr. Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia, presents the titles, certificates and medals to the wrestlers those accomplished the prerequisite of “Nachin” (Falcon) and “Khartsaga” (Hawk) titles

17.50-18.20     Wrestling (Eighth round)

17.50-19.20     Junior’s wrestling (Seventh round)

18.25-18.40     H.E. Mr. Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia, presents the title, certificate and medals to the wrestlers those accomplished the prerequisite of “Zaan” (Elephant) title

18.45-19.20     Wrestling (Ninth round)

19.30-19.45     H.E. Mr. Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia, presents the title, certificate and medals to a pair of finalists of the wrestling tournament

19.50               H.E. Mr. Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia, declares the National Day –  Naadam Festival closed

20.00               Closing ceremony of the National Naadam Festival, The State-Nine-White Banners will be transferred back from the Central Stadium to the State Palace