Area: 1,566,000 sq km (610,740 sq mi) Population: 3.0 million (51% live in urban areas) People: Khalkha Mongols (82%), Kazaks (4%), others (14%) Regions: 21 Aimags (provinces). Aimags subdivided into Soums Capital: Ulaanbaatar (47°55′N 106°53′E) Languages: The official language, Mongolian, is spoken and understood throughout the country. Russian is the other major language used. However, other foreign languages, primarily English, are becoming more popular. Religions: Buddhism (53%), Protestanism (40%), Shamanism (4%), Islam (3%) Government: Parliamentary with a president elected every 4 years Economy: Traditionally based on agriculture, livestock breeding (camels, bovine, goats, horses and sheep); mining (coal, gold, copper and uranium) Time: GMT + 8 Electric current: 220 volts/50 HZ Normal working hours: 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-18:00 Weight and measures: Metric System
The population of Mongolia is 3.0 million people. The urban population is approximately 1.7 million with the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, about 1.3 million inhabitants. While the average population density of Mongolia is just over 1 person per sq. km, About 75 per cent of the population of Mongolia speak Khalha Mongol, the official language, while another 15 per cent speak other Mongolian languages. Ethnic minorities are mainly speakers of Turkic languages, such as Kazakh, Tuvinian, Urianhai and Hoton. Ethnic groups: 85% Mongol, mostly Khalkha Mongol. Also 7% Turkic (mainly Kazakh), 4.6% Tungusic and 3.4% other groups. Four million Mongols live outside Mongolia.
Mongolia is a huge, landlocked country about 3 times the size of France, squashed between China and Russia. At 1,564,116 km2 Mongolia is the world’s 19th-largest country. It was immeasurably bigger during the period of Mongol conquest under Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan. Until the 20th century Mongolia was twice its present size and included a large chunk of Siberia and Inner Mongolia (now controlled by China). Mongolia has a 3,000km (1,864ml) border with the Russian Federation in the north and a 4,670km (2,901ml) border with China in the south. From north to south it can be divided into four areas: mountain, forest steppe, mountain steppe and, in the extreme south, semi-desert and desert (the latter being about 3% of the entire territory).
Mongolia is one of the rich natural countries in the world. Because there are 7 natural zones: such as High Mountain Zone, Taiga Forest Zone, Mountain Forest Steppe Zone, Steppe Zone, Desert-Steppe Zone, Gobi Desert Zone, Wetlands. For example: Mongolian from north to south it can be divided into four natural zones: mountain-forest steppe, mountain steppe and, in the extreme south, semi-desert and desert. HIGH MOUNTAIN ZONE: All Mongolia is “mountain”, the country averaging 1.5 kilometers above the sea level. In Mongolian terms, 5%is at such high altitude as to endure extreme condition -the High Mountain Zone – winds, extreme cold, and very short growing season. The Zone is above the tree line, characterized by tundra, alpine- sedge meadows, upland swamps and lichen- covered screes and boulders. Plants include shrubby Ground Birch; occasion Mountain Pine, beautiful white Gentian and Mountain Saxifrage. Typical mammals are “Argali”, Ibex, Snow leopard, Ermine, Snow Marten and Mountain Hare, birds include White Ptarmigan, Altai Snow cock, Eurasian Dottrel, Rock Pigeon and Red-Billed Chough. TAIGA FOREST ZONE: Northern Mongolia includes the southern rim of Siberia ‘s vast taiga forest, the largest forest on the.
FLORA & FOUNA
Mongolian flora and fauna: Mongolia has a very diverse and distinctive flora and fauna, which represent a mixture of species from the northern taiga of Siberia, the steppe, and the deserts of Central Asia. Many of them are unique to Mongolia and largely unknown to the rest of the world. Flowering Plants:The largest families flowering plants in Mongolia. There are registered 3000 species of flowering plants. 975 species are registered as medicinal plants which are used in folk and traditional medicine of Mongolia and boundary countries, including 200 species which are used in modern medicine. Mammals in Mongolia Russian and European researchers started study in Mongolia travelling information: Mongolian flora and fauna Mongolian wildlife, especially mammals, in the early 19 th century. The training of Mongolian wildlife researchers started in the early 1950s. In Mongolia exists 138 species mammals. There are 32 species of rare very rare and endemic species of Central Asia, but also Mongolia, 8 species of amphibians and mollusks spread across the vast territory of the country. Mongolian birds and insects Mongolian Bird 57 different species of birds belonging to 200 genera, 60 families f 19 orders registered. 81 species birds permanently live during the four seasons, while others migrate. Insects in Mongolia Entomological research started in 1960’s in the Mongolia and for the past 40 years, Russian Polish and other countries scientists have worked on Mongolia. Results of this research, over 12500 species of insects have been recorded in Mongolia, and over 2000 species have been initial discoveries in the world. Fish of Mongolia Since in 1954 fish has been exploited in Mongolia. There are 75 species of 43 types, 13 families, 8 groups, 2 classes fishes live in rivers and lakes of Mongolia. There are 33 species of fish for fishing tour and sport fishing in our rivers and lakes. There are also represented 875 funguses; 300 species of Microorganisms have been registered in Mongolia.
THE CLIMATE IN MONGOLIA
If you planning to travel in Mongolia. It will depend on weather and climate. Mongolia is naturally have 4 season. These advice’s will help you to travel. The four seasons are very different, winter lasts from November to February, spring from March to mid-May, summer from mid-May till late August, and autumn is in September and October. The cold weather in north can last a month or two longer than the Gobi areas. So pack your woolens if you trotting here. Mongolia can experience four seasons in a day. With more than 260 sunny days a year, Mongolia is known as the ‘Land of Blue Sky’. Mongolia experiences extreme continental clime; it is so far inland that no sea tempers its climate. As you travel in Mongolia, keep the climate in mind.
In spring when unpredictable weather creates snowstorms intermixed with spells of wind and sun, keep in mind that the wind-chill factor: a 10-knot wind can make 0°C feel like -5°C. The maximum rainfalls occur in the taiga areas beside the northern border, especially Khentii and Khovsgol. Only in summer does cloud-cover the sky. Humidity is generally zero and sunshine is intense.. Only in summer does cloud-cover the sky.
Right time to travel is in mid-May. Early May can still see snowfall, especially in the north. June weather is good and usually dry throughout the central and southern regions. The mountains and northern areas can be cold. July is the time to see the Naadam Festival. This is also the peak tourist season. It’s a decent time to look for travel partners and get out of the city. Gobi temperatures this month can rise up to excruciating 40°C.
In the month of August there will be heavy rainfall in the northern and central areas. This weather fills up rivers and brings the lush green grass creating a picturesque view, but it can also swamp the roads with mud and attract mosquitoes. This is one of the best times to travel in Mongolia. September is another okay month. The cool weather brings respite to the Gobi and the varying colours in the forests in the north are beautiful. October is again cool and sees the occasional or rare snow bustle up north but is still fine for travel, especially in the Gobi desert. Weather patterns at this time are unpredictable. You never know one moment you’re walking in a T-shirt, the next you need an overcoat and boots, and then you are back to T-shirts. The cold season is between November and February. Mongolians, especially nomads, contemplate March and April as the worst months. After the long winter, livestock will already be thin and a lack of rain brings about their death, causing financial and psychological adversity. If the spring is a harsh weather, staying with a nomad family at this time is not recommended.
IN THE ULAANBAATAR
Ulaanbaatar is considered the coldest capital city in the world. Temperatures can drastically start to drop below 0°C in late October, and cold biting temperature of to -30°C in January and February and remain below freezing till April. July to September is pleasant, but it can still turn cold. Mongolia is a holiday spot to plan with your friends and family.
CULTURE OF MONGOLIA
The Mongolian way of life is nomadic and intimately connected with the ways of animals. Despite urbanization, the traditions of the steppes live on. Even in the cities, the majority of Mongolians continue to live in a ger, a large, white felt tent that can be moved easily and has a universal layout: the door always faces south; Mongolians have always taken wholeheartedly to Tibetan Buddhism and the links between Mongolia and Tibet are old and deep. Once in a lifetime, every devout Buddhist Mongolian tries to reach the holy city of Lhasa; the Tibetans in turn have relied on various Mongolian tribes to sustain their power. Not until 1990 was freedom of religion restored. Since then, there’s been a phenomenal revival of Buddhism and other religions. Monasteries and temples always have Tibetan names. There’s a small minority of Sunni Muslims, about 5%, in the far western regions of Mongolia, most of whom are ethnic Kazaks. Mongolia’s paintings, music and literature are dominated by Tibetan Buddhism and nomadism. Traditional music involves a wide range of instruments and singing styles. In Mongolian khoomi singing, carefully trained male voices produce harmonic overtones from deep in the throat called “throat singing”, releasing several notes at once. Traditional music and dance performances aren’t complete without a touch of contortionism, an ancient Mongolian tradition. The Mongolians are big tea drinkers and the classic drink is suutei tsai (salty tea with milk). Herders make their own unique home brew airag, which is fermented horse’s milk with an alcoholic content of about 3%.
MONGOLIAN BRIEF HISTORY
Mongolia’s history is extremely long; it spans over 5,000. “The Mongols has little inclination to ally with other nomadic peoples of northern Asia and, until the end of the 12th century, the Mongols were little more than a loose confederation of rival clans, It was in the late 12th century that a 20-year-old Mongol named Temujin emerged and managed to unite most of the Mongol tribes. In 1189 he was given the honorary name of Genghis Khan, meaning ‘universal king’. No Mongolian leader before or since has united the Mongolians so effectively.”
Manchu controlled Mongolia from the year 1691 to 1911. Thanks to the fall of the Manchu dynasty that controlled stopped. A group of Mongol princes “proclaimed” the living Buddha of Urga to be ruler. “Mongolians have always taken wholeheartedly to Tibetan Buddhism and the links between Mongolia and Tibet are old and deep.” In 1921 there were 110,000 lamas or monks in Mongolia living in 700 monasteries. In the 1930s thousands of monks were arrested. Some believed that by the year 1939 3% of Mongolia’s population, at the time, was executed or out of 27,000; 17,000 were monks.
In the year 1990 the freedom of religion returned. Since then a revival of Buddhism and other religions has occurred. Mongolia won its independence in 1911. In 1921 the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party government started. “When the last living Buddha died in 1924 (“with the rise of Tibetan Buddhism in the 16th century, a living Buddha would be named”), the Mongolian People’s Republic was established. It took 22 years for China to recognize this. All subsequent Monolian texts were written in script until Stalin forcibly replaced it with Russian Cyrillic in the 1940s. The text was written in scripts named SECRET HISTORY scripts. Since 1944 the Russian Cyrillic alphabet has been used to write Mongolian.
A new constitution came into force in 1960, and Mongolia was admitted to the United Nations in 1961. Mongolia traditionally supported the Soviet Union. In January 1992 the president of Mongolia, Ponsalmaagiyh Ochirbat institute a new constitution. “In 1993, Birus Yeltsin, Russia’s president and Ochirbar signed a new treaty.” Also Ochirbat was re-elected in 1993.
In the 1980s Mongolia fell in control of Jambyn Batmonkh, a decentralize heartened by the Soviet reforms under Mikhail Gorbachev. “By the late 1980s, relations with China even started to thaw and full diplomatic relations were established in1989. “In March 1990, large pro-democracy protests erupted in the square in front of the parliament building in Ulaan Baatar and hunger strikes were held.” Also lots of things happened at a rapid paste around that same month. Some of which are: Batmonkh lost power; new political parties sprang up; and hunger strikes and protests continued. In May Mongolia was awarded from the government to have multiparty election in June 1990. The communists won the elections. In the first half of the year 1996 Mongolia was “beset” by wild fires that raged for more than three months and lost 41,000 sq mi (106,000 sq km) of forest and rangeland. In the year 1997 Ochirbat lost the election because of the economy. In the year 2000 the elections resulted in nearly a total win for the MPRP. In fact the total amount of seats won by the MPRP was 95%.
Since the Hunnu Empire Mongolians raising their five domestic animals. It is including sheep, horse, cow, camel, and goat in the broad region of forest, steppe and Gobi desert. Especially they respect their horses. Mongolians see their horse is their best friend. Mongolia has 4 seasons. Mongolian nomadic people move into place to place 2-4 times a year as well as it is depending on livestock’s pasture. Mongolian nomad people always following their livestock. Because livestock knows where is the best pasture. Mongolian herders live in Mongolian traditional dwelling (covered felt) Ger.
MONGOLIAN FIVE ANIMALS
Mongolian five domestic animals are sheep, horse, cow, camel, and goat. Mongolia is the land of livestock. Now in Mongolia has over 55.9 million livestock, including 24.9 million sheep, 23.6 million goats, 3.8 million cattle, 3.3 million horses and 367.9 thousand Bactrian camels.
On these five animals depends the prosperity of the country. All flocks of sheep include goats, only shepherds can really explain why. The sheep provides meat, wool and leather, nowadays its milk little taken. The goat provides milk and company for the sheep, its fresh is seldom eaten. The cow is eaten and milked, and its hide provides leather often the yak is used instead of the cow, or else together with cattle. The she- yak’s milk is fatter. The yak seems more active than the cow, and as one approaches a mixed herd, the yak’s – hairy as terriers – are always the first to run off, lofting their- feathery tails like pennons. Also there is hainag, a yak cow hybrid. (The reverse hybrid, from a Mongolian bull with a female yak, is possible, but not used.)The male hainag is strong, stronger than either parent. It is burly beast with hair longer than its mother’s and shorter than its father’s. The female produces more milk than the female of either parental stock. But its calf, the ortom, is a weakling, and breeding is not taken other. The horse is kept as a mount and for milk. Mares must be in foal a great part of the year. Several times in journey you will come across twenty or thirty horses crowded, noses together close to Ger They are waiting their turn for milking. Mongols say they milk better if you let the foal start them. The means of transport is the camel. His wool warm to the rider, is taken also. But he is not eaten, nor his female milked, save perhaps on the edge of the desert where no other livestock viable. Camels are formidable. The males, when their minds are on mating, foam at the mouth and fight. Camel herds are usually smaller than those of other animals. Camels and coats are shorn but once a year. Sheep sometimes twice. A Mongolian sheep gives three or four pounds of wool a year.
GER / YURT / MONGOLIAN TRADITIONAL DWELLING
Ideally suited to Mongolia’s harsh terrain and lifestyle, the ger is called yurt by many foreigners. But, Mongolians don’t particularly like this Russian labeling of their national dwelling …so call it a ger. A round felt tent covered in durable, waterproof, white canvas seems to be the most simple description of this portable home. White modern and expensive houses are being built in UB, many rural Mongolians have retained their traditional lifestyle, of which the ger is an integral part.Ancient gers were not collapsible and had to be wheeled from one location to the next sometimes pulled by up to 22 yaks. But nomads need to move across the country in all four seasons. So gers that could be packed onto the back of their livestock were designed and are still used.The Mongolian ger has to key components: the wooden frame work and the the felt cover, the wooden framework is known as khana, the central support columns as uni, the smoke hole is toono. Eighty – eight separate wooden poles each measuring around 1,5 meters are used for the ger frame, with just to central columns supporting the entire structure. Without its felt and canvas covering the naked frame looks something like an umbrella without its sheath. Once the framework has been erected it is covered with felt and mounted onto a wooden floor sometimes the ger goes directly on the ground, and then overlaid with felt. The door is always on the southern side facing the sun, providing more light inside windowless home.Your average ger is divided into three areas. There are male and female sections and khoimor area at the rear of the ger. The male area is on western or left side of the ger. Here are man keeps his bridles, airag and arkhi(vodka). Women traditionally have the eastern side of a ger, where they keep kichen utensils, their own and childrens belongings. It is customary for a man entering a ger to step the western side and a women to the east.The khoimer, which is directly opposite the door, is where valuable objects are stored or displayed, as well as a small Buddhist shine. Most families also keep a collage of photographs of relatives and close friends at the back of the ger. This is the most important part of the ger and guests are often invited to sit at the khoimer. The two central columns are the only things propping up the whole structure and no matter how many people are in ger ( you would be amazed how many can fit in and even sleep in a ger), no one ever leans against either of the support columns. This is considered very bad form.It’s around shape keeps the Ger. Resilient to Mongolia ‘s ferocious winds, while it felt is rapidly drying material for when it rains or snow melts. In UB and more recently, in towns across the country, people are setting into large, faceless apartment blocks. Ger districts usually occupy poor quality land on the outskirts of town. But in summer, urban Mongolians head to the outskirts where they spend as much time as possible in small wooden houses or gers where they can enjoy the beautiful Mongolian summers away from the uncomfortably hot urban apartments.
RELIGION IN MONGOLIA
Yellow headed Buddhism began to enter into Mongolia from Tibet the second half of the 16th century.
Buddhism in the form of the yellow hat Buddhism or Lamaism making further inroads into Mongolia from the second half of the 16th century. According to the Mongolia Buddhist doctrine, it is said that the sky father blessed all of the world and that there is one who could say, I am a owner of the world’ Buddhism teaches the ‘nature of reason’ and that if good deeds are done, they will have good results. Similarly if bad deeds are done, they will have bad results. Buddhism preaches about these as ‘ten black deed sins’ and ‘ten white deeds’. Sins are divided into deeds which are made with the body with speech or with the mind through thoughts. Sins made with thoughts include thinking about bad things having evil thoughts, corruption, intentionally or purposely doing a crime, planning aggressive war, and so forth.It is said that Buddhism believes that thought is thing prior to both body and speech. They consider evil thoughts the result of numerous sufferings and unavoidable accidents and misfortune. The term used for such negative feelings is Nirvanas (greed, anger, opposed, ideology). Buddhism argues that if we can systematically remove these strong desires or greed from the mind we can become wholly enlightened people. With enlightenment, thoughts will become pure and clean and reach to the height of bliss. Buddhism also teaches that if the people show their mercy in letting an animal live, they will gain merit in their future lives.
Since Buddhism began to enter into Mongolia, mostly Mongolians believe Buddhism. But Mongolian Buddhism is different from Tibetan Buddhism. Mongolian Buddhism connected with Mongolian traditional lifestyle. Before in 1930 40% of male population was lamas (monks). Between the communist purges 1930-1940 Russian and Mongolian soldiers destroyed about 700 monasteries and temples. Until in 1990 any religion closed in Mongolia. After democratic movement in 1990 all religion reopened. In 2002, there are about 180 religious temples and churches operating in Mongolia and more than 110 Buddhist monasteries and temples and about 70 Christian churches in Mongolia.
BUU: / SHAMAN /
Mongolian classics, such as The Secret History of the Mongols, provide details about male and female shamans serving as exorcists, healers, rainmakers, necromancy, soothsayers, and officials. Shamanic practices continue in present-day Mongolian culture.
The spiritual hierarchy in clan-based Mongolian society was complex. The highest group consisted of 99 tengri (55 of them benevolent or “white” and 44 terrifying or “black”), 77 natigai or “earth-mothers”, besides others. The tengri were called upon only by leaders and great shamans and were common to all the clans. After these, three groups of ancestral spirits dominated. The “Lord-Spirits” were the souls of clan leaders to whom any member of a clan could appeal for physical or spiritual help. The “Protector-Spirits” included the souls of great shamans (ĵigari) and shamanesses (abĵiya). The “Guardian-Spirits” were made up of the souls of smaller shamans (böge) and shamanesses (idugan) and were associated with a specific locality (including mountains, rivers, etc.) in the clan’s territory.
In the 1990s, a form of Mongolian neo-shamanism was created which has given a more modern approach to shamanism. Among the Buryat Mongols, who live in Mongolia and Russia, the proliferation of shamans since 1990 is a core aspect of a larger struggle for the Buryats to reestablish their historical and genetic roots, as has been documented extensively by Ippei Shimamura, an anthropologist at the University of Shiga Prefecture in Japan. Some Mongolian shamans are now making a business out of their profession and even have offices in the larger towns. At these businesses, a shaman generally heads the organization and performs services such as healing, fortunetelling, and solving all kinds of problems. Although the initial enthusiasm for the revival of Mongol shamanism in the post-communist/post-1990 era led to an openness to all interested visitors, the situation has changed among those Mongols seeking to protect the essential ethnic or national basis of their practices. In recent years many associations of Mongol shamans have become wary of Western “core” or “neo” or “New Age” shamans and have restricted access to only to Mongols and Western scholars. One such event, organized by Jargalsaiкhan, the head of the Corporate Union of Mongolian Shamans, was the 21 June 2017 Ulaan Tergel (summer solstice) celebration held near midnight on the steppes about 20 km outside Ulaanbaatar.
MONGOLIAN TRADITIONAL FOOD AND BEVERAGE
Dairy products called “tsagaan idee”
It is differ greatly about in variety and taste and include milk, which is regarded as symbol of unselfishness, purity and kindness, urum (a thick layer of cream), Mongolian butter, aaruul (dried curd), and a soft of kefir yogurt, curd etc other milk products.
Airag is Mongolian traditional drink. Rural people making summer time in it. 1000-3000 times bit it in cow’ skin bag. (leader bag) Mongolian people used to airag in Naadam festival, wedding, New year and others. Some people can drink 2-3 letre one sit. Airag has included 7-8% of alcohol. So you will drink a lot of airag maybe you hang over. Airag is Mongolian respect and safely drink so you never to spit and drop it outside. During the Naadam and New year festival who win the wrestling competition people present him one big bowl airag. Also horse racing competition whose horse win people drop the airag horse’s croup. Mongolian famous and tasty airags originated from Bulgan, Arkhangai, Ovorkhangai provinces. Airag gives strength and cheerfulness and it destroys pathogenic microbes in the intestines and helps improve the living body metabolisms. If you visit Mongolian family or wedding people give you one big bowl airag. Maybe you can’t drink it just try sip it. ( airag is soft lime).
Commonly used in marmot and coat involves removing the bones( and bowels from the skinned carcass through the neck red hot stones are put inside the carcass closed and the neck opening. Then the carcass is barbecued. The meat roasted this way is tender tasty and fragrant. ) innards of the animal, whilst leaving the meat bones and skin intact, then placing red hot stones inside the body of the animal to cook the meat sometimes inside the boodog may you make vegetables and some pepper and salt. If you bring hot stones it will be good for relax also health.
Is prepared by cutting up the meat of the sheep and coat and placing it in a container together with hot stones, while heating from the outside. Some people add and fixed many kinds of vegetables also pepper and salt. Khorkhog was a cooking method commonly used by soldiers on military compaign in earlier centuries as the meat of a large animal such as a deer or gazella could thus be cooked in it’s own stomach thus eliminating the need for carrying heavy pots or special utensils. Usually man making Boodog and Khorhog.
TEA WITH MILK:
Usually used to tea cow, camel and sheep milk. May you visit Mongolian nomadic family first they served you tea with milk. The Mongolians drink tea with milk with a salt. Sometimes the tea is cooked with rise, dumplings and flour. It preparing is easy first water and add brick tea salt then milk and boiled it is ready. Some Mongolian ethnic groups drink tea without salt. Usually Mongolian old people drink tea about 1-3 l a day. Also Mongolian people follow the traditional medicine. For example if I grip or cold make a 7 dumplings tea with milk. After you will be ok.
VODKA / WHITE VODKA / SHIMIIN ARKHI:
Mongols have made vodka for many centuries since the first Mongol people, hunnus. Making vodka is a complex process and requires a lot of skill and the right materials. The process of making vodka has been passed down through many generations, from father to son, and mother to daughter. In the paragraphs below I will attempt to describe the process of making Vodka. First you need a few important materials; to bowls, (one large and one is slightly smaller bowl ), a cylinder or bottomless barrel (the cylinder should fit snugly around the large bowl), a bucked, and of course a good fire. Another critical material is cow’s milk. Once cows have been milked, the milk must be churned. The milk is must be changed into butter milk or yogurt. Next a fire is made then the large bowl is placed over the fire and the yogurt is poured into the bowl immediately, the bottomless barrel is put over the large bowl and the smaller bowl is placed on top of the barrel. The smaller bowl is then filled with water. However the barrel is not empty. Inside the barrel is a bucket that hangs between the two bowls. This bucket is very important because it catches the newly made vodka. Now the prepare must wait; the yogurt is boiled. As the steam from the yogurt rises it hits the bowl of cold water. As this point the steam condenses back into liquid. The liquid slowly drips into the hanging bucket, as time passes the bowl of cold water will get warm, so the preparer must change the water but “be careful of the steam”. Once the process is completed, the arkhi is poured out and thrown into the fire. This is considered an offering to the god fire. If the arkhi makes a flash (blue flame)than the arkhi is good. Arkhi just made in the countryside of Mongolia . But people who live in the city can enjoy the arkhi because their families in the countryside often send them some.
BORTS / DRIED MEAT /:
The Mongolian nomadic way of life and the countries climatic conditions has give rise to specific methods of preserving meat. The most widespread one is air – drying or bortsloh. Beef is cut into long strips which are hung in the shade. The meat dries very quickly, becoming so hard that you can not cut it with the knife. Before using the dried meat it is powdered and the put into boiling water. In a minute you have a nourishing broth.
FESTIVAL AND EVENTS OF MONGOLIA
These traditional festivals and tourist events will really introduce you to the lifestyle of Mongolia.
NAADAM / ERIIN GURVAN NAADAM /:
The Mongolian national holiday Naadam is celebrated in Mongolia each year on 11-13 July. The festival starts with Opening ceremony that features horse riders, wrestlers,athletes, musicians, monks and dancers. The three manly games of wrestling, horse racing, and archery- make up the core activities of the National day festivals.
At the start of competition all the wrestlers with the higher title – holder in front , enter the hall in a line wearing gutuls (decorated Mongolian boots. ) and hats and their wrestling costumes called “zodog”(an open fronted , long sleeves vest of silk) and “shuudag”(tight short trunks ). There are many different titles for the wrestlers such as Titan (avarga), Lion (arslan), Elephant(zaan) and Falcon(khartsaga). All the names signify strength. Titles are mostly confirmed during the national festival Naadam. A wrestler who wins five fights in succession uring one competition has the right to have the title of Falcon, and if he wins seven fights in succession Elephant. When a wrestler wins all the fights in a competition during one of these festivals he will be a Lion. If he wins a subsequent year he merits the title of titan, the highest rank. There is a variety of throws used to defeat opponents. Some say there are hundreds of them. When the wrestling arena or step onto the carpet in the case of an indoor competition and the second take off the wrestler’s hats. When a wrestler touches the ground with any part of his body other than his feet and arms, he is considered to be defeat. The main difference between Mongolian national wrestling and international free wrestling is that the weight category of wrestlers is not taken into consideration.
Mongolian people have loved horse racing since time immemorial. A whole system for conducting the contests has developed over the centuries. In the races held during national festivals, including Naadam, participants are six age groups and the distances range from 15-30kms. No special tracks are prepared, the horses covering the distance in the steppe and jumping over natural barriers. Before they start the riders sing an ancient war-like song Giingoo. The competitors start at the finishing line and at the signal to start and back to the finish line. Thus the distance is actually doubled. The horse racing can be held on saddled or unsaddled horses. Horses of two years older take part. The winner is honored with a cup of airag which he drinks and sprinkles on the head and croup of his horse. After the races, praise-singer extols the best riders and their horses.
The third element of the national games is archery. Five lines engraved on an ancient Mongolian target immortalize the phenomenal record of Yesuhei-baatar, saying that his arrow hit the target at a distance of 536 meters. The bow is an ancient invention going back to the Mesolithic Period. Ancient Mongolians made their contribution to the design of the bow as a combat weapon.Today Mongolian’s use less complicated form archery than in ancient time; the target is ‘wall’ made of cork cylinders braided together with leader straps. It is four meters long and 50cm high. The target is placed on the ground at a distance of 75 meters for men and 60 meters for women. In the past Mongolians used three types of bows; “big hand” (165-170cm),”average hand” (160cm), “small hand’ (150cm). Today Mongolian’s mostly use the average hand bow which requires a force of 22 to 38kg to draw it. Arrows are usually made from pine wood and had feather fins which help the arrow to reach distance of 900 meters. Naadam archery also attracts individual archers as well as Teams of 8-12 people. Every male archer has forty arrows to shot at each target. The judges dressed in national attire, stand by the targets with hands held up after the arrows have been shot. They praise the best shot in a drawing recitative voice. The contests are accompanied by colorful national rites. Before the competition starts you hear the recitative song “uukhai’, calling on the archers to be good marksmen and hit the target.
MONGOLIA NEW YEAR
Mongolia and a number of other Eastern and Central Asian countries have followed the lunar calendar with its 12 year animal cycle since ancient times. The New Year according to the Oriental calendar in Mongolia is called “Tsagaan sar” which translate “White Month”. There are many options about the origin of this name. One is that Mongols believe white symbolizes happiness, purity and abundance of milk products. The date of Tsagaan sar, depending on the phases of the moon, falls anywhere between the end of January and early March. Tsagaan sar is a birthday for all Mongols. Mongol families start preparations for a holiday almost a month a head. First of all there is a tradition to prepare plenty of gifts and food, in other words to have one’s hand’s full. Also gers, sheds and pens should be cleaned out. Every Mongol family makes hundred of buuzs and bunshes(dumplings). Mongols like to greet the New Year in everything new. So women sew new dels for the whole family. According to custom Mongols kill a sheep, the fattest in the flock. Then the lower back with the tail is boiled and served on the table for the entire holiday. Tsagaan sar symbolizes wealth and prosperity in the family. The New Year eve in Mongolia is called Bituun – the last dinner of the old year. Beginning at noon family begins to set up the table. There must be several dishes; a dish with the boiled sheep’s back tail a dish with ul boov (traditional bread biscuit), a dish with the berees (rice cooked with butter , sugar and raisins) and dish with traditional milk products; aaruul. Byaslag (unsalted cheese), cream, etc. one must eat all the traditional dishes that evening; boiled lamb and beef, huge variety of milk products, buuzs and dessert. Some families have the tradition of placing coins inside the banshes. Whoever bites into the bansh with them coins will have good luck. At the end of the evening everyone’s stomach is fully satisfied. The following morning everyone rises bright and early according to tradition (about 6-7 o clock). On this morning there are many customs to follow. The first is to greet the sun; everyone watches the sun rise. Second in order to have good health and happiness in the New Year, each individual must take “their first steps of the year”. Everyone takes some steps in a specific direction. The direction is dependent upon what lunar calendar year one was born in. For example, a person who was born in the mouse year must take the first steps to the north at the first day of the monkey year. The following year the direction will be different. After the fist steps are take, all family members re-enter their home. At this point the traditional Tsagaan sar greetings begin. The oldest family member is greeted first. They are seated at the north side of the ger -the most respected side of the ger. The next oldest family member is the first to greet. This member carries the hadag- a beautiful piece of blue silk – across their arms. A cup filled with milk is placed in the right hand on the silk. This person greets the oldest family member by saying”Sar shinedee saihan shinelj bna uu?” and then gives the silk and milk to them. The younger member has her or his palms facing upward and grasps the older one’s elbows. The older member has palms faced down, and the arms are above the younger. While this occurring, the two kiss one other on each cheek. (This kiss, not exactly kiss, is the touching of one’s cheeks) On this day ‘all family members show their respect and love through this greeting. After the second oldest member has finished the greeting, the one family member greets the oldest member. Then they continue to greet one another and give gifts. After the greetings, the food is placed on the table and the eating and drinking begins once again. The drinks consist of airag and vodka. The almost favorable drink during this holiday is Mongol milk tea. The woman who is head of the house continually cooks, and serves, cleans all day. Her children help her with all of the work.At this point, guests begin to arrive and continue to all day long. The greetings continue as well as the gift-giving. The conversation greetings with the guests are a little different. Usually, question is asked about livestock’s how they survived through the winter, if they are healthy, etc. During this period it is expect that all family members visit one another. The greetings should be finished within 15 days then Tsagaan Sar has ended.
Mongolia Horse Trails Travel