Naadam Festival in 2019

Mongolia Public Holidays in Mongolia

Naadam is a five-day public holiday in Mongolia that celebrates the heritage of the nation through three sports.
A Naadam Parade in the National Sports Stadium in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

When is Naadam?

How long until Naadam?
This holiday next takes place in 49 Days.
When does Naadam start?
Year Weekday Date
2020 Saturday July 11
2019 Thursday July 11
2018 Wednesday July 11
5 Days
Naadam is a the largest festival in Mongolia and focuses on Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery

The Naadam Festival is a celebrated in Mongolia with public holidays from July 11 - 15 each year. This is the largest and most popular holiday in Mongolia.

The first day of the festival takes place on Revolution Day, Mongolia's National Day, which commemorates independence from China on 11 July 1921.

In 2014 an amendment to the Law on Public Holidays and Ceremonies in 2014, increased the number of public holidays for Naadam from three to five.

History of Naadam Festival

During the Naadam Festival, Mongolians participate in the "Three Manly Games" of archery, wrestling and horseback riding which represent the heritage of the nation.

The festival originated in the 12th century as a way for Mongolians to demonstrate their military prowess. From the 17th century, Naadam contests were held during religious holidays. Since 1922, they have been held on Revolution Day, the anniversary of the People's Revolution.

Did you know?

The coldest capital in the world is not in Russia, Iceland or Canada, but is Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The annual average temperature in the city is -1.3°C.

The main Naadam festival takes place in the country's capital Ulaanbaatar and opens with a cultural performance with ethnic dancing and music before the games get underway. Everyone, young and old are encouraged to participate in the games.

Wrestling is usually the first sport. The main wrestling event is a knockout competition involving 512 or 1,024 participants. The participants are all men and have to enter the ring bare-chested as legend has it that a woman once infiltrated the games beating the men, so now all the wrestlers have to show they are male before the grappling begins.

The second sport is Archery. From the time of Ghengis Khan, Mongolian archers were famed for their skill and precision with a bow. At its time, the recurved Mongol bow was a weapon without compare on the Eurasian battlefields of the steppe and deep into Western Europe.

The third sport is horseback riding. Mastery of horse-riding was key to the Mongol domination of the steppe. The nomadic life of the Mongols made them expert hunters with the horse and bow, which made them formidable opponents. They developed stirrups, which enabled Mongol horsemen to ride without reins, leaving the hands free for combat.

Did you know?

Mongolian native horses are called takhi, which means "spirit." They have 66 chromosomes in their genes, which is two more than other horses.

The festival is proving increasingly popular with foreign tourists, with around 20% of all tourists coming to Mongolia in July to witness the spectacle of the games.

The Naadam Festival was inscribed on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO in 2010.

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