Naadam is the biggest festival of the year for Mongolian people, which is usually celebrated during 3 days each year on July, 11th-13th. It is a sophisticated and eloquent expression of nomadic culture, the honored celebration of the national independence, and it is an outstanding combination of arts and sports. The main Opening & Closing ceremonies take place at the National Stadium of Ulaanbaatar, as well as activities on smaller scale happen in each province & town of the country.
The Naadam festival in Ulaanbaatar allows its audience to admire colorful celebration and see prominent sports while the countryside festivals allow their audiences to participate and deal with locals. It is considered to be the most widely watched festival in the country, the main attraction for tourists, and is a centuries-old tradition that dates back to the era of the great Khans and their dynasties.
“Naadam” in Mongolian means “games,” which makes sense since the holiday is primarily focused on three Mongolian skills: wrestling, horse racing, and archery, that Genghis Khaan considered essential for any Mongol warrior. Whereas horse racing and archery competitions have gradually incorporated women participants over the years, wrestling continues to be a highly male-dominated sport.
There is an interesting fact about wrestling, that all men are wearing their small underwear-style bottoms, boots, traditional hat and an open, over-the-shoulder top. Years ago, the wrestlers started wearing these open style shirts because the men were constantly losing to a woman, who disguised herself as a man! Now that the shirts have to be open, the sex of the wrestler is definitely exposed.
Should you visit Mongolia, this is the best time to see the Mongolian people and soak up the party atmosphere! If you are not into sports, there’s plenty to see and do outside - you can also explore Mongolian food, music, crafts, games, and culture in general. And, of course, the natural beauty of the country will also await you.
Don’t forget to pack your camera and get ready to make some amazing memories! Come travel to Mongolia to experience this Festival, which is the only one of its kind, in the world.