Naadam – A Truly Mongolian Celebration

What is Naadam?

Naad means games and Naadam (Erviin Gurvan Naadam) highlights the three manly sports of wrestling,  archery and horse racing. Naadam is a favoured public holiday, one of Mongolia’s top sporting events, a celebration of culture and tradition and pride, and a vibrant traditional Mongolian festival.

As was written in the UB Post in 2014: Come for Naadam and

‘You then understand what 2014 Mongolia is: a land with a culture rich in history far from being forgotten, present in everyday life, and where pride in the past reinforces today’s nationalism.’

There’s a fantastic mix of people – urban and rural Mongolians, young and old – with some wearing beautiful ceremonial deels (the traditional Mongolian coat). There are impromptu shops and side-show games, some great local street food and all within a backdrop of great sportsmanship. As an example of how highly the winners are regarded -the winners of the 2014 national Naadam wrestling competition (held in Ulaanbaatar) won beween them a Toyota Land Cruiser 200, a Lexus 570 a four-bedroom apartment, a three-bedroom apartment and with 15 million and 10 million tugrik awarded in prize money.

This great image was taken by our guest Barry Meadow in 2013 during the Ulaanbaatar Naadam. The locals do a great business in selling transfers and impermanent tattoos –mainly of the Mongolian flag and the national symbol the Soyembo. I think this image encapsulates the feeling and atmosphere of Naadam just perfectly.

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