Naadam Festival in Mongolia

Referring to Mongolia, the vast steppes, endless desert and nomadic yurts will come to our minds. At the same time, the Naadam is famous all over the world. As a traditional and national event in Mongolia, Naadam is celebrated every year.



What is Naadam Festival?

Naadam is a festival celebrated usually from July 11st to July 13th in Mongolia, which focus on the 3 games of horse racing, wrestling and archery. Naadam originates from Genghis Khan, the founder of Mongol Empire. And Naadam has a long history of more than 2,000 years. Naadam was first held for preparing of war. Genghis Khan gathers the leaders of the tribes to show the friendship and celebrate the harvest. At first, only one competition among the three was held at the Naadam. To the Yuan and Ming Dynasty, horse racing, wrestling and archery were combined to form the basic and main games of Naadam.


Mongolian Naadam is connected with its nomadic civilization. It is not only a festival, but also part of its culture. In 2010, Naadam was added to the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.



When is the Naadam Festival?

Generally speaking, Naadam is held in the middle of July, from July 11st to 13th.



Three Main Manly Games of Naadam


Wrestling is usually the first sport of the Naadam. About 500 to 1,000 male participants will compete during Naadam. There are many top wrestlers in the competition. Wrestling in Mongolia is a sport only for men, whose participants are only male. Mongolian wrestling has its unique rules that there are 9 to 10 rounds without time limit. Besides, there is no limit for weight and regions. The wrestlers will dress unique clothes and sing songs to encourage each other. Wrestling is the favourite game by the locals but not foreign visitors because they don’t know the rules.



Horse Racing

The distance of horse racing is from 15 to 30 kilometers, which is long. And the horses in a race will be a large quantity, sometimes up to 1,000. The race horses are ridden by children of 7 to 13 years old, to which is a challenge. The highlight of horse racing is the jockeys, generally speaking, the jockeys are boys. The trainers and the jockeys of the first 5 horses of all races will be awarded. Many Mongolians learned to ride horses at their early ages, from which we can know that the courage of Mongolia’s nation.




Archery is the competition for men and women. The distance of the men’s and women’s game is different, and the distance of the men’s game is longer than women’s. Each archer will be given 4 arrows each game. Those who get the highest score will win the match. The bows and arrows they use are made by Mongolian traditional method. Also, the archers will wear their national clothes, which are colorful and beautiful.




How do Mongolians Celebrate Naadam?

Mongolians have 5 days’ holiday during the Naadam, and they will have fun during their vacation traveling, camping and picnic with families or friends. In 2020, the holiday of Naadam was extended to 5 days by the Mongolian Government. Lakes and river shores are the top destinations for Mongolians during their vacation. And camping is the popular activity for locals.


Some citizens will buy the tickets to watch the games of Naadam. And they will dress colorful traditional clothes to watch the games and eat the delicious food. Some people will cook delicious Naadam dish and watch the Naadam competitions on TV.



Where is the Naadam Held?

Naadam is mainly held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The main games are held at the National Stadium, that means you can watch the Naadam events like opening ceremony, performances and games in Ulaanbaatar. The wrestling game is held at the the archery competition is held at the National Archery Field, Ulaanbaatar. Horse racing will be held in the countryside.



Why is Naadam Important to Mongolians?

Naadam was added to the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. The history of Naadam can trace back to Genghis Khan period. Naadam is the one of the grandest and most important festivals in Mongolia. Mongolians will gather together in Ulaanbaatar during Naadam.


At first, Naadam was held for preparation for war. Genghis Khan gathered the tribal leaders to celebrate the harvest and strengthen unity and friendship, one of the three main games was held. After the independence from China and Russia, it had become more popular in Mongolia. Till now, it is a traditional and national festival deeply loved by Mongolian people.


Naadam is a good way for locals and foreigners to explore the culture in general. There are many traditional folk cultural activities at Naadam. The games and competitions at the Naadam show beauty and strength, power and wisdom, speed and endurance, which has extensive and profound cultural connotation.



How to Get the Tickets of Naadam?

Tickets of Naadam can be bought online, but it is difficult for foreigners to get the tickets. A Naadam Festival ticket is needed when watching the opening ceremony, closing ceremony and wrestling competition. Tickets are not required in other performances and games, also countryside Naadam festivals.


You don’t need to worry much about the tickets of Naadam if you want to have a Mongolian Naadam tour. We have professional and experienced travel agency which can help you to get the tickets.



What can you Expect during the Naadam?

Besides the games of wrestling, horse racing and archery, you can enjoy the Mongolian food, music and crafts. Mongolia also provides you beautiful nature scenery and rich culture.


Camping in the Terelj National Park

At the Terelj National Park, you can enjoy the picturesque scenery just like the scenes in the film. Immerse yourself in the stunning view, mediate at the Ariyapala Temple and explore the Turtle Rock. Terelj Nation Park is famous for its natural beauty of green steppes, crystal clear water, lush forest and grotesque rocks.


You can ride a horse freely running on the grassland as well as admiring the marvellous scene. You can also hike by the river and camp by the shore. What a comfortable thing it is to be in the beautiful and memorable environment.

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