Friday, July 11, 2008


Montage of 2005 Naadam in UB, Mongolia

Ok. Taking a break from the political hoohaa, here are some Naadam links and info.

Today, July 11, is Naadam. Naadam itself in its various forms have been around for a very long time, for after all it simply means "festival", and we have had many festivals over the centuries to celebrate conquests, coronations and other special occasions.

The current form of Naadam lasts for 3 days, from 11-13 July, during which Mongolians nowadays celebrate our independence from the Manchus in 1921. The main Naadam is held in UB City, while all aimags and sums have their own smaller versions. Inner Mongolia also celebrates Naadam from my understanding. Naadam consists of 3 main sports, or "manly" sports as Mongolians call them: archery, Mongolian traditional wrestling and horse-racing.

Off the top of my head, I'm going to shoot off some interesting facts about Naadam. In the horse races, the riders are always children. Mongolian horses are sturdy but small in size, about the size of Western ponies. And the riders of these horses can be children as young as 4 years of age. The races are more like marathons, some as long as 30km and more. The races are by the age groups of the horses.

Mongolian wrestlers are highly revered, the way Sumo wrestlers are in Japan. There are many stories, mythology and legends passed down via oral history about great wrestlers. I will post one or two up as soon as I remember them.

For more on Naadam, check out