Naadam is probably one of the most popular holidays in Mongolia. For three days, spectators can choose to watch wrestling matches, horse races, archery and bone flicking. More than just a sporting event, this holiday is also an opportunity to have fun with the family and friends, sample local street food and try airag (fermented horse milk).
The largest event is held in Ulaanbaatar on the 11thand 12th of July. The more traditional but smaller celebrations take place in and around the countryside. Travelers looking for a more authentic experience might choose this option.
Tsagaan Sar, or Mongolian new year, is an important holiday celebrating renewal.The traditional dish of this holiday is the “Uuts”: the back of a sheep cooked using steam to be served and eaten in the house of the oldest members of the whole family. Huge amounts of “buuz” (dumplings) are also prepared and consumed. The centerpiece of the table is a large assortment of layered biscuits decorated with pieces of sugar and candy. The amount of biscuits that guests are given depend on their age: three for youngsters, five for middle-age couples and seven for grandparents.
Originally, Tsagaan Sar was a traditional nomadic pagan celebration and the new year was celebrated in autumn, before the winter season and the diminution of milk production. The holidayadopted a Buddhist slant after Khubilai decided to match the Mongolian New Year with spring’s first new moon in February.Tsagaan Sar being very popular, religious institutions were obliged to include it in their system and the date of the yearly celebration is calculated according to the lunar calendar.
– The Ice Festival
It is held in Khatgal in Northern Mongolia in February (Khovsgol province). If you are in Mongolia during the winter, this is a must-see. You can take part in competitions in ice fishing, cross-country skiing, ice skating.
– The Thousand Camel Festival
Takes place in the village of Bulgan in southern Mongolia (DUNDGOBI) on March6thand 7th.It is possible to watch camel polo, camel shearing and demonstrations of herd gathering.
– The Golden Eagle Festival
Commences in autumn in the Bayan-Ölgii province. Home to the Kazakh community, this mountainous region is located in the westernmost part of Mongolia.
The festival of the Sagsai Eagle hunting is a major local event.In two days you can experience the colorful parades and thrilling competitions. The main event where trainers compete is an experience like no other. The trainerstest their eagles’ speed, agility and accuracy through varies hunting demonstrations.
This festival will bring you face to face with these majestic birds of prey in their unspoiled natural surroundings. You will also get a glimpse into the lives of the fascinating Kazakh people who have nurtured and kept alive this unique tradition.