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Naadam Festival in Mongolia

You already experienced a trip or several trips in China and you want to explore something new? Or maybe you just like the virgin and huge spaces? Mongolia may be the right place to go to…

And if you had to choose a specific time to travel to Mongolia, U China Travel recommends you to choose July to enjoy the Nadaam Festival.

Indeed, Naadam Festival is held in the most enjoyable month of the most pleasant season in the country, from the 11th to the 15th of July.

The core of the festival is three manly sports: the wrestling, horseracing and archery, Nadaam also embraces many elements of arts, such as singing, dancing and performing. 

Naadam Festival Mongolia


The origin of Nadaam Festival is closely related to the history and culture of Mongolia. It was one of the main practice of war. Naadam is also a sophisticated and eloquent expression of nomadic culture, it is the honored celebration of a national independence, and it is an outstanding combination of arts and sports. 


A little bit of history…

The origin of Naadam festival is closely related to the history and culture of the country. Mongolians have abundant military history; especially, it is renowned for its conquest, great Emperors and the warriors. The core reason of the success and unity of legendary Chinggis (Genghis) Khan’s army was its sophisticated structure. The whole army was composed of groups of 10 soldiers and each group was led by a selected man. 

The leader of groups chose their warriors based on their strength, movement and flexibility revealed in their wrestling skills, their eye-sight and hand-orientation shown in their spear-throw and archery skills, their patience and bravery exposed in their horse training and horse racing skills during public competitions. For example, archery is symbol of strength, vision, patience, sense and concentration.
Before and after major battles, the three manly sports – wrestling, horserace and archery – were exercised as an organized event, which later adopted its present name – Naadam. 

However, during the double-century ruling of Qing Dynasty (from the late 17th century to the early 20th century), Manchu leaders applied the rule that no monks were allowed to practice traditional sports like wrestling or archery. This is an example of how Manchu leaders pursued the policy to segregate the unity of Mongolians by decreasing the number of participants in mass events, namely Naadam, and subsequently setting barriers over Mongolian men to get physical training and form united action for independence. Fortunately, Mongolians managed to preserve their traditional sports by organizing mini-Naadam type events, including the wrestling, archery and horseracing, on various occasions like in worshipping sacred areas, during weddings and religious rituals.

Consequently, later in the 1920s, Naadam started to take place as a nationwide celebration honouring the victory of the People’s Revolution and forming the independent nation of Mongolia. From that time, dominant image of Naadam has shifted from mass battle or physical training to national celebration. 

U China Travel Mongolia


And now …

Nowadays, it is celebrated as the largest celebration and a national holiday which officially lasts 3 days. Because the event articulates traditional arts and sports in harmony, it is celebrated in a festival manner.  The major festival is held in the second week of July in Ulaanbaatar. However, some regions, provinces and villages set up their festival dates differently. Almost everyone is dressed in amazingly colourful, and comprehensive traditional costumes called ‘dell’ during the festival.

Some local Naadams are held on the anniversaries of their administrative areas; and thus, tourists have wider selection to set up their travel dates when considering of experiencing local Naadam.

Local Nadaam Festival is more attractive because of truly authentic, enthusiastic. Here you can photograph and talk with locals without any prohibition. Mongolian traditional Ger dwelling used to be as restaurants in countryside. Most of the people ride a horse and run through the vast steppe without any traffic rule. The festival is like a small fair, not too touristy which makes the local Nadaam the best choice.

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Come travel to Mongolia with U China Travel to experience this Festival, which is the only one of its kind in the world… Located in the north part of China, your first stop will be Beijing. And then it usually takes 3-4 days to reach Mongolia traveling via Datong, Pingyao, the cities in Gansu like Dunhuang, Jiayuguan and also the region of Xian…

It is just the right time to book your trip and if you have any particular requests regarding Mongolia and the Nadaam Festival, please feel free to contact us at: info@uchinatravel.com

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