Must-see festivals in Mongolia
Every tourist who wants to travel to Mongolia knows about some festivals held in Mongolia, especially about Naadam festival. In this feature, we highlight top 10 festivals in Mongolia, besides Naadam festival.
Following ranking is not listed from the best to worse.
#1. Danshig Naadam
Danshig is a Tibetan word that means “Bat-Orshil” or a blessing for peace. The Danshig Naadam festival is organized to promote peace, so that alms and offerings are distributed to the people during the festival. During the festival, the Khuree Tsam dance is one of the most important events. Also it is an inseparable part of Mongolian Buddhist culture, which has been passed down through generations over centuries. The Khuree Tsam has developed into one of the most important religious festivals in which saints, nobles and believers alike want to participate and pray.
#2. Eagle Festival
Every year in the first week of October, ‶Eagle Festival ‶ is celebrated in Bajan Ulgii province, in the far west of Mongolia. This area is in the breathtaking landscape of the Altai Mountains, where four Asian countries meet. The inhabitants of this area with its rich mix of cultures are mostly ethnic Kazakhs. During the festival, they wear their traditional embroidered clothes. The ‶Eagle Festival‶ is a tournament of falconers from the region who hunt with trained eagles. Once a year they gather in a large number to measure their skills. There are about 380 falcons organized in a club. They are of all ages, from teenagers to octogenarians.
#3. Ice festival
The inhabitants of the Mongolian northern region organize the annual ice festival on the icy surface of Lake Khovsgol in winter. Interestingly, this festival used to be a small regional festival. But it is now a national festival that attracts more and more people every year. Only in 2000, people organized this among the locals to promote the protection of Lake Khovsgol. Meanwhile, there was a race with 6 sleds, but only in 18 years this race became a big race with 50 sleds. In fact, both forecasts and local tourists attracted to the festival. More than 100,000 local and foreign tourists visit Lake Khovsgol to enjoy the festival and explore the beautiful nature. Number of foreign renowned media who have created a program about the Ice Festival of Mongolia.
#4. Camel Festival
This festival is organized to improve the competition of camels and increase the number of herds. Participants in the festival are teams of each sum from the festival organizing province. The main aim of the Camel Festival is to increase the number of the rare two humpback camels and to raise the awareness of the people. There are only 844,450 two humpbacked camels in the world and 430,000 of them in Mongolia.
#5. Yak Festival
Interestingly, the locals organized this Yak Festival to teach the shepherds to improve their income with raw materials made from yak such as yak wool and milk. Participants learn how to produce such materials and how to use them for transportation, riding and using them, the cultural importance of yak among the locals and cooperation between these communities. A total of 3000 people took part in the festival. Yak’s natural habitat is the mountainous landscape of the Khangai and is a hardy animal with a high tolerance to cold. The yak wool products ares very warm and much more durable than goat cashmere. During the festival, a total of 120 yaks participates in most of the competitions. The referees rank yaks with the highest milk production, the most beautiful decorations and the most beautiful yak.
#6. Thousand Horses of the Steppe Festival
This festival is an important part of the development of tourism in Mongolia, continues the nomadic equestrian tradition and awards the best trainers and horses of the region. This festival was organized in Khentii province in order to promote the livelihood and economic performance of the area and the neighboring Sum inhabitants. This Sum region is the one with the highest number of horses in Khentii province. Horse trainers, horse breeders and over 2000 horses gather for this festival.
During the Mongolian Winter Festival, there are competitions such as ice shooting, ice archery, ATV racing, dog sledding, ice climbing, snowboarding, skiing, rugby. Visitors can enjoy cultural events. The “Ulaanbaatar Winter Festival” brings together families who want to enjoy the beautiful winter and promote winter tourism in Mongolia. This festival is popular among transients and emigrants living in Mongolia and anyone can participate in the competitions.
#8. The Festival of National Costume
The Festival of National Costume “Deeltei Mongol” is held annually on July 10th. It is one day before the big national festival “Naadam” on the Sukhbaatar’s Square. The national costume, Deel, is an inseparable element of Mongolian culture. The festival begins with a parade of models and locals wearing the beautiful Mongolian traditional costumes. Various activities take place: Folklore, concerts, fashion show, Mongolian yurt building and traditional handicraft.
#9. Yohor Festival
From July 17th to July 19th since 2016, the Yohor-2017 Folk Arts Festival has been successfully organized and held in Khentii province. The purpose of the festival is to restore and develop the old Buryat dance style of Yohor. Thus, locals try to preserve the new generation as a heritage and to develop the tourism of the region as an annual event.
In total 244 dancers, from 15 dance groups participated in traditional and modern 2 classifications. Furthermore, the participants came from Russian Federation, Ulaanbaatar city, some sums of Khentii province.
#10. Tsaatan festival
This festival is organized annually to expand tourism in Khuvsgul province and promote Tsaatan, reindeer herding and culture in the world. Through this festival, tourists can experience the unique culture and tradition of reindeer herders and the shamanistic rituals of the Tsaatan people from Darkhad. This event significantly improves the livelihood of the locals.
It is being organized for the 15th consecutive year. During the festival, visitors can enjoy reindeer racing, experience the Tsaatan lifestyle and take photographs with the majestic reindeer.