china edition


Nadam Tourist Festival

Date: Around July 15 every year
Venue: Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

The Nadam Fair is a traditional festival celebrated in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the 7th lunar month. "Nadam" is the Mongolian word for "recreation" or "games". It was first held by the Mongolians in the Han dynasty.

The Mongolians are a people fond of sports activities. The 3 main kinds are: horse racing, wrestling, and archery.

Nadam Tourist FestivalThe Mongolians grow up on horseback and horses thus play an important part in their life. Horse racing vividly expresses the Mongolian people's special way of life on the green grasslands.

Before the race begins, an elderly ma usually holds high a silver bowl of fresh milk and a Blue hada and chants something to bless the riders. This eulogy before race is peculiar to the Mongolian people.

To start the race, all riders come to position along a line, each wearing a colored waist belt and a turban. According to the rules of the race, riders should sit straight up on horseback and rein in the horse to make it trot at a speed no slower than galloping. After the race, winners receive congratulations as well as great publicity.

As mentioned, wrestling is another important sports activity at the festival. The formal wrestling contest is a very ceremonious one. Participants are required to wear a traditional uniform; a sleeveless jacket made of leather or canvas, a tri-color short skirt, a pair of embroidered breeches and high boots. Before the contest, wrestlers usually first perform a dance and sing a song, which says "Send over your brave men, your brave men!" According to traditional rules, when any part of the body above the knee touches the ground, the match is lost. The wrestler who wins the first prize gets a strip of colorful cloth pinned on the chest. The brave Mongolian people, in this way, show their incomparable strength and unwavering courage.

Archery provides people with a good chance to show their skill. Great amusement is derived from this event.

Nadam is also a fair. The Mongolians, wearing their holiday best, come to attend the fair from all over Inner Mongolia. Herdsmen and merchants flood the fair to sell their products. Various kinds of commodities including fur-lined jackets, robes, leather boots and gold or silver ornaments are seen here and there. The whole fair is filled with a lively festive atmosphere.