July 11, 12,13
The Naadam Festival also known as Eriyn Gurvan Naadam is by far the biggest event of the Mongolian year and marks the 1921 Mongolian Revolution. Naadam meaning "game" or "competition"
is the essence of the Mongolian spirit. This
unique, exciting and colourful festival originated
from the era of Chinggis Khaan and was originally organized as a competition to test the skills of Mongolian warriors. It runs for three days and is held in the countryside villages throughout Mongolia
as well as in Ulaanbaatar.
The festival is a
celebration of the "Three Manly Sports" of Mongolia: wrestling, horse racing and archery. Participants of all ages prepare for months prior to the competitions for the ultimate test
of their strength, skill and endurance. Winning at Naadam carries great prestige as well as financial reward.
The first day starts
around 9 am with hundreds of soldiers in bright uniforms and others outfitted in the traditional warrior garb of Chinggis
Khaan parading with the white flags representing the 9 standards of Chinggis Khaan outside the State Parliament House at Sükhbaatar Square and marching to the Naadam Stadium. The opening ceremony is
held at the Naadam Stadium and features horses parade, parachute, music, and traditional dancing. For the rest
of the day, enjoy the wrestling and archery competitions at the main stadium and the horseback riding races in the surrounding
On the second day, there are competitions
for each category all day long until the wrestling competition finishes and then the closing ceremony takes place and includes
marches and dancing.
The last day of the festival is rest for everyone!