Be a True Nomad – the Naadam in Six Senses
Naadam Festival – It has been the main and most significant celebration of the horse-riding nomads from far ancient times. Its origin can be found in petroglyphs engraved millennia ago and its tradition is counted in thousands of years. Wrestling in the stadium, horse race in Khui Doloon Khudag and archery in the shooting field in the city are eye-catching or even eye-dazzling with vivid colors, concurrent contests and spirited spectacles. Yet descrying the festival from a distance would never fully satisfy the ones who would like to learn and sense the true nomadic spirit.
So only sense of seeing the Naadam with fascination, eagerly soaking up Mongolian history is not enough for us.
How shall we understand and enjoy the Naadam at fullest and experience the nomadic traditions, the authentic nomadic way of life and the nomadic arts and culture?
The answer is the Culture Naadam, the twoday event that presents the unique aspects of nomadic arts and culture in an interactive way.
As the Culture Naadam is run in the valley of the horserace, the out of town spectators witness the racing of horses, take a stroll in the scent of pasture sage and thyme and pay a visit to the ‘One Day in Mongolia’ village of Culture Naadam. It’s arts and crafts village with several Mongol gers and pop-up tents, where heritage bearers and artists showcase distinct nomadic culture.
It’s not only for watching, but available for taking part in the actions of calligraphy writing, traditional painting, felt stitching and wool processing. Holding a brush, dipping it in ink and writing on rice paper will definitely make you feel like an ancient sage. Or making felt out of wet wool, sensing its tangled fibres will bring you the warmth of the wool and the warmth of the hearts of Mongol peoples.
Try Mongolian traditional costumes for selfie or witness the deeply-rooted rituals and customs, play the traditional games at the ‘Steppe Mongolia’ nomads’ camp. Shooting the anklebones with your ring finger will certainly text not your strength, but your sharpness. It’s where you witness, or even become a true Mongolian for a moment by making dairy products, processing leather or taking part in other daily household activities of nomads along with related rituals andcustoms. In the evening, listen to the singing and reciting of Mongolian oral traditions, the earliest and oldest epic tales and odes and praises for appealing the lord spirits of nature.
You can even imagine yourself being a Mongol warrior while shooting with a bow and arrow or while enjoying the horse-riding show of ‘The Wonder of Horse-riders’.
The kids can learn being a Mongol in the children’s camp titled ‘Children-Our Future’, while the ‘Awakened Steppe’ contemporary arts camp entertain you with an exhibition of fine artworks. Thegiant sculptures are erected as magnificent monuments of the true nomads in the world.
If you feel hungry, there will be Mongolian cuisine to delight your appetite. If you feel tired, just take a break, feel the wind and the sun, then follow what your heart says. That’s how to touch, move and wake up the true nomadic soul in yourself.
Every year, the Culture Naadam hostsover 20.000 Naadam festival goers on July 11 and July 12 in at Khui Doloon Khudag valley. It presents the quintessence of Mongolian cultural identity and the highlights of its intangible cultural heritage.
The Culture Naadam, held in its 11th year, was mainly organized Arts Council of Mongolia (ACM) and the Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture (MSUAC) with a team of over 200 persons of artists, intangible cultural heritage practitioners, students and volunteers. The Culture Naadam2018 is made available by support of Organizing committee of Mongol Naadam, Rio Tinto and Khan Bank.
Since 2008, the Culture Naadam has won the appreciation of the Naadam revelers attracted and has already become the most successful public event that is a part of the “Mongolian Naadam” festival, a centuries-old tradition of Mongolia inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Every visitor at the Culture Naadam becomes the envoy of nomadic culture, contributing in carrying out its aim to promote Mongolia’s custom traditions, to endorse the intangible nomadic culture as a tool for strengthening national cultural identity and to raise nationwide awareness of traditional cultural values.
See, Hear, Smell, Taste, Touch and Feel the Nomadic Spiritat Culture Naadam. Sense Yourself as a True Nomad.