Naadam Festival is a traditional Mongolian festival and is the one of the best times to experience the wonderful culture of this land. The history of this festival goes back to the nomad wedding assemblies where the Mongolian Army had their hunting experiences.
Each year Naadam festival is celebrated from July 11-15.
The Naadam Festival is locally termed as “eriin gurvan naadam” or “the three games of men”. These games are Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Conducted throughout the country of Mongolia, this festival takes place in midsummer. Earlier this festival restricted participation only to men, but now-a-days, women are also participating in archery and horse-racing, and not wrestling.
The Wrestling game of Naadam festival is untimed having nine or ten rounds consisting of 512 or 1024 wrestlers who meet in a single-elimination round. The wrestlers lose if they touch the ground. Popular and famed wrestlers are given the chance to choose an opponent of their choice. Dressed in two piece costumes consisting of a vest and a short, only men wrestlers are allowed to participate.
The Mongolian horse-racing being a country-wide event is 15-30 kilometers long unlike the western horse-racing of 2 kilometers. Whilst the age class of the horses decides the length of each race, upto 1000 horses are carefully and randomly finalized to be a part of Mongolian horse-racing. The horses are fed a special diet to prepare them for this special festive occasion but the chief aim being to test the skill of the horses.
The unique part of Mongolian archery is that it has many targets, i.e. hundreds of beadrs or surs on a gigantic wall. Both men and women participate in archery. A team of 10 women and men is made who are given four arrows each to hit 33 “surs”. Men shoot their arrow from a distance of 75 meters whist women from a distance of 65 meters. Archery winners are crowned the title of “national marksman” and “national markswoman”.