Naadam Festival is the only one of its kind; it is 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.
Even, the core of the festival – three manly sports – the wrestling, horse racing and archery, embrace many elements of arts, such as singing, dancing and performing.
Nomadic Mongolians have known when to throw the parties. Naadam Festival is held in the most enjoyable month of the most pleasant season in the country.
Therefore, everyone takes the opportunity and enjoys the Festival in diverse schedule such as traveling to the countryside, camping out and gathering in their closest herds.
Everyone is so looking forward to Naadam that after each Naadam, Naadamers moan that next Naadam is too long to wait. Don’t be one of those moaning about next Naadam being too long to wait!
Come travel to Mongolia with us to experience this Festival, which is the only one of its kind, in the world.
Where to see
As the festival is held in every village and town around the country sometime between June and August, one has ample opportunity to experience and enjoy the Naadam festival in Mongolia. Where to see Naadam all depends on one’s own availability and preferences of the type of the festivities.
In the capital – Ulaanbaatar, Naadam Festival (so called “National Naadam”) officially starts in the morning of the 11th of July and closes in the evening of the following day. However although the Naadam of Ulaanbaatar is the only national one with the largest extravaganza and the fanciest performances, it might seem too crowded to experience. Sometimes, festival spectators are not able to watch certain games, held in distanced locations, because of the heavy traffic. Entrance tickets for Opening Ceremony tend to be sold out early, as well.
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. Furthermore, 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.