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Nomads' Day festival
A cultural revival is proving a big hit with visitors and locals alike: For two days each September 17 to 18, which is symbolized an auspicious day the 17th of the second month of autumn, according to the oriental calendar, the steppes of Mongolia are alive with the sound of nomads, in what’s become an extraordinary revival andpreservation of Mongolian nomad culture. It is organized by in-bound Mongolian tour operator Selena Travel brings local nomadic groups to the beautiful Gun-Galuut natural reserve in Bayandelger soum (county). In just five years, it has grown from a small local tourist event to widely celebrated cultural festival.Before Gun-Galuut became a nature reserve, the locals only lived on their livestock, milk, cashmere, wool and meat. It was not much for these families, so there was a gradual exodus from the countryside to the nearest towns. Now the reserve and cultural tours- including the Nomads Day festival – are giving the local communities a chance to make an income from tourism.
Another purpose to organize this festival is that in general, tourists come to Mongolia for on average 7 to 10 days. But in that short time they can’t see all aspects of Mongolian lifestyle, festivals, horse racing, archery, wrestling, try Mongolian dishes and sense the culture. Tourists who come to Mongolia in July can see the Naadam Festival, but those come in other seasons can’t. Therefore, Nomad’s day festival is dedicated tourists to show them aspects they are interested in within two days and it is a holiday to inspire the nomads to reinstate traditions and compete with each other too.
You will meet real nomads in their traditional costumes and competing with their incredible heritage on nomadic traditions, witness young nomadic kids showing off their mental ability, see the contest of traditionally dressed beautiful nomadic couples, see a thrilling folk concert of various nomadic groups and will be treated with mouth-watering steppe delicacies and a mini Naadam - Three Manly Games of the Mongols “Archery, Wrestling and Horse Racing”.
It begins with rival families competing to put up and take down a ger (the Mongolian tent dwelling made from canvas, felt and wooden poles), and over the two days kids and adults play games, guys on horseback try to pick the things off the ground at a gallop, and women make rope. Another event is called Smiles of Mongolia, a kind of beauty/talent contest for riding couples, and then there are the Three Manly games of Mongolia. The evening feature a wonderful folk festival and the festivities conclude with a “Delicacies of Chinggis" gala dinner and bonfire party to enjoy the best of nomadic traditional cuisine enriched with some Western tastes.
They have enjoyed themselves so much that they were already planning to return next year.
What had they liked most in Mongolia? Loren thought for a while, and said, "In America the culture of ownership prevails. This is different here. Everyone shares the land and shares hospitality, food, and animals. Sharing is such a wonderful thing and in America we don't have this."