Mongolian Horse Games

This image was taken by Turuu in the Bayandalai district of the southern Gobi. It was during a community mini-Naadam held to honour the local ovoo (sacred shamanistic shrine) – we were invited along to the celebration by the Batsuuri family that we work with. The ovoo was erected by the local herding families in the area to show respect and gratitude and to honour the spirits of the mountains of Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park – the region where the families have their livestock pasture.

11722112_10152830337736621_9217704310436477583_oThe ovoo (with juniper (known as arts in Mongolian) and the sacred blue khadag (scarves)

After a ceremony to bless the ovoo, the rest of the day was dedicated to the ‘celebration’ part – mainly wrestling and horse games interpreted with eating and drinking (naturally!).  The main image was taken as the local herders and ‘aduuchiin’ (horse wranglers) competed to pick up a ‘uurga’ (a type of lasso combined with a long pole particular to Mongolian pastoralists).
Interested? Why not find out more about the other Mongolian festivals?