The Naadam festival of Manly Games - 2015

2014-10-03

Naadam is an age old celebration of the test of courage, strength, dexterity, and marksmanship of the nomads. It is held annually from July 11- 13th throughout the country. The three “manly games” consist of horse racing, wrestling and archery. The race is over 30 km in distance and is raced by young riders some as young as six years old. Wresting starts with traditional “eagle dance” that is supposed to lift the wrestlers spirit. Archery dates back to the times of Chinggis Khaan’s warriors. People also compete in ankle bone shooting.                          

Event date: 11-13 July
      Venue: Throughout Mongolia

The biggest festival of the Mongolian year is the Naadam Festival celebrated in Mongolia nationwide on July 11-13.

Naadam is properly know as “Eryn gurvan naadam”, after the three manly games of wrestling, horse racing, and archery making up the core activities of the National Festival. Mongolians love to dress in their best traditional costum
es and riding on their most beautiful horses during Naadam.


     
Wrestling
  Mongolian wrestling has no weight divisions, so mostly the biggest wrestlers are often the best. The wrestlers are divided into 2 sides and it begins with zasuul honoring the glorious titled wrestlers to each other by their unique sounded speech and while wrestlers do short eagle dance by putting hand at the shoulder of the zasuul.  Wrestler wears gutul heavy big boots, shuudag tight unflattering pants and zodog open-fronted and long sleeved small vest across the shoulders. Winners are bestowed glorious titles depending on how many rounds they win. There are nachin (falcon) – 5 rounds; khartsaga (hawk) – 6 rounds; zaan (elephant) – 7 rounds; garid (the Garuda) – 8 rounds and arslan (lion) – given to the winner of the tournament. When an arslan wins 2 years in a row he becomes an avarga, or titan. One renowned wrestler was given the most prestigious and lengthy title of the ‘Eye-Pleasing Nationally Famous Mighty and Invincible Giant’. All titles signify strength and are given during the national festival Naadam. There is a variety of wrestling methods and some elders say there are hundreds of them. Mongolians are really excellent at wrestling, riding and archery.
       
         

Archery   
    Arrows are made of pine wood and feather fins allowing it to reach distance of 900 meters. Naadam archery also attracts individual archers as well as team of 8-12 persons. Male archer shoots forty arrows at each target. Traditionally dressed judges stand by the targets raising their hands in the air to indicate the quality of the shot with uukhai sound but surprisingly never get injured. They praise the best shot in a traditional drawing recitative voice.               

Horse racing                   

Mongolians loved horse racing for over 21 centuries. In modern times, horse racing is mainly held during Naadam Festival and Lunar New Year. Riders are kids from age five to 12. There are six categories of horse racing, depending on the age of the horses; shudlen a two-year-old horse will race for 15km while six-year-old azarga and ikh nas horses race for up to 30km. There is no special track but just open countryside.