14
Sep
09

An Awesome Tradition With Some Fabulous Clothes


mongolia01It’s a tradition dating back over 800 years, Mongolia’s Naadam is a festival held in every city across the nation celebrating masculinity and heroism featuring the three “manly” sports: archery, horse racing and wrestling.

The wrestlers, clad in open jackets — instituted reportedly after a woman won the event hundreds of years ago — leather boots and a sweet bikini bottom do a ceremonial dance before entering the ring as means of displaying power and grace.

mongolia05

After the wrestling comes the archery — which was canceled this year due to heavy winds — and then the main event, the horse race. The 17 mile race was originally thought up by Genghis Khan as a military exercise and to celebrate the mighty Mongol armies.

Some of the riders are as young as 5-years-old and this year’s contest featured only one female rider. Most of the riders go bareback and without shoes to protect the horses. This year’s winner, Ganbaatar Tserenpuntsang at the ripe old age of 11 has done this race several times already.

When Tserenpuntsang arrives at the rope-line finish, covered in dust and sweat the crowds swarmed him. Both the dust and the sweat of the horse are considered lucky and so the crowd anxiously tries to get some to dab on their foreheads. The winning rider receives a cash prize and honor and the winning horse gets a medal.  The entire festival serves as a rite of passage for Mongolian males and honors the past heritage of Mongolia.

[NPR]


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