Opening Ceremony, Naadam Festival in Mongolia
The Naadam Festival dates are July 11 to 13 every year.
The annual Naadam Festival in Mongolia is the highlight of the summer. The festival takes place over three days, and involves three sports: horse racing, wrestling, and archery.
The festival begins with an opening ceremony in the national stadium in Ulaanbaatar. The ceremony includes music, military demonstrations, impressive acrobatics on horseback, and dancing. The ceremony is followed by the start of the wrestling competition, which is a single elimination tournament.
Meanwhile, the horse races start in the countryside. They can be viewed from locations around Ulaanbaatar and further afield. Most of the participants in the race are young children, and the races range from around 15 to 30 km.
Many Mongolians bring their gers (nomadic tents) to the horse racing grounds. During the the Naadam Festival in Mongolia, they make the rounds to their neighbors’ gers to share vodka, fermented mare’s milk, and traditional mongolian foods while they wait for the horses.
The final sport in the festival is archery. There is a multi-target system for archery, and both men and women are allowed to participate.
In the evenings during the festival, the streets of Ulaanbaatar are alive with revelry and celebrating. The festival is a great time to be in Mongolia, and offers a unique glimpse into the country’s culture and heritage.