Mongolian Naadam Festival
The “Mongolian Naadam” is the expression of prideful history, culture and tradition that we have created. Therefore, the “Mongol Naadam” is often hustle and bustle with foreign tourists in summertime.
Modern researchers and scholars describe that the Mongol Naadam was first created in the I-II century BC when the Hunnu state was established. At that time, horse, wrestling, and archery were considered the origin of the state. In order to protect the native land and home, it is imperative for the men to have these three abilities. For instance, riding a horse prominently and shooting with bow and arrow to destroy enemies. It is recorded in the historical sources that you use your fist to fight when you have no swords and use wrestling tricks and techniques.
Hunnus of that time organized a festival to improve the unity of the army and the military’s combat skills and since then, Mongol nations have been organizing three manly games. I assume that it is a tradition of thousands of years that public gather and wear traditional clothes to Naadam area.
First, since the 1639 “Danshig Naadam” was held and it proves a traditional rituals of three manly games. That year Zanabazar was crowned as the head of the religion in Khalkha. In history, In this Naadam of “Shireet Tsagaan Nuur” Lama wrestler won the competition and a horse of Bonkhor Dondir came first in horse-racing. The biggest Danshig Naadam was held in Dolonnuur in 1696 and the song “Tumen Ekh” was composed becaming the anthem of the Naadam.
During the manly three games, three types of competitions, such as wrestling, archery, and horse-racing, are subject to special rules. Wrestling, archery, horse-racing follow a certain traditions which came from an ancient time. It includes special clothings and garments and the first-place horse receives titles along with an honor of praises and poems. Wrestlers, archers and horses get a title.
Mongolian wrestler’s one unique feature is garments they wear. In Mongolian heroic poems of “Eriin Sain Khan Kharangui” it says as : male camel leather zodog* (*special jacket worn by Mongolian wrestlers) bull leather shuudag*(* wrestler’s underwear) proves that zodog shuudag was made of strong animals from the ancient times. When wrestler’s second picks up wrestler’s wrestling hat and calls his name and glory, he goes on his way to a flight of legendary bird like a khan garuda, falcon, eagle, hawk and so on. It’s hard to imagine Mongolian festivals without mighty wrestlers. Strong wrestlers who wear identical zodog shuudag to tent’s pattern and design entertain the public and state high naadam and festival.
Horse. This word is one of the closest words in every heart of the Mongols. We have a history of Chinggis Khaan establishing the Empire of Mongolia, by stamping the earth with the hooves of the horses, through the hills, mountains and water. Horse-racing is one type which constitutes weddings, festivals. Since ancient times, herding has become one of the main sectors of the labor force, and it is unimaginable for herdsman without best horses. Therefore, our horse racing dates back to ancient times without doubt. The fastest horses are selected, meals are adjusted from many days before, tested by racing day by day, by picking up the age and match the distance. For example Ikh nas (aged older than others horses as follows) 22-28km, Soyolon and Azarga (five-year old horse) 20 km, Hyazaalan (4 years old horse) 18km, Shudlen (3 years old) 15 km, Daaga (2 years old) 10km distances covered in wild field path. A child riding a horse wear colorful clothes that does not interfere with the movement, not clinging in the heat, stable with wind impact. In recent years, safety clothes have been used to protect against falling injuries. Naadamchid will talk to each other about horse riding lovely kids who whips their horses so intensly resulting a release of the leather strap. There is no one who does not admire the horses from the race start point. The children’s voices are full of joy, and dust of the golden hooves covers the earth and sky drawing patterns which results admiration to one of the three games of the man, horse race.
The tournament was designed to improve bow and arrow skills, to seek great gain in hunting, and originated from sharp-sighted archer shooting rituals after hunting and dancing. Archers shoot tuberous arrows to delicately weaven drum like targets placed in 2 type as khasaa*() and khana*(wall) and the distance is about 45 arcs or 75-80 meters. It is often said in the books and treatises that everybody stand in line with each other or forms a team and shoots a certain amount of arrows according to some rules. In the 13th century, there were bow and arrows outside the morphine. Each man had a bow, and a woman shoot an arrow too. The most distant covered person in Mongolia’s history is the 330 fathom of Chinggis Khaan’s grandson, Esungen, which is about 520 meters. The myths show that the archery feels as if it were originated together with a nation.