Monday June 24, 2019

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The Three Kingly Sports: Archery, Horse Racing & Wrestling


Mongolia's Naadam Festival dates back centuries, way back to the times of Chinghis Khan and evoke the traditional skills needed to live and fight in Mongolia. Locally termed "Eriin Gurvan Naadam" the Festival is known as "The Three Games of Men". These games are Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery and are held throughout the country during the midsummer holidays. Women have started participating in the archery and girls in the horse-racing games, but not in Mongolian wrestling. In 2010. Today, Nadaam is a three day National Holiday and formally commemorates the 1921 revolution when Mongolia declared itself an independent nation. Naadam was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.

The biggest festival (Naadam of the Country) is held in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar during the National Holiday in mid July in the National Sports Stadium. Other cities and towns across Mongolia and those with significant Mongolian populations in China, also have their own, smaller scale Naadam celebrations. It begins with an elaborate introduction ceremony featuring dancers, athletes, horse riders, and musicians. After the ceremony, the competitions begin.

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