10 Facts about Mongolian Naadam Festival that will blow your mind

Even if you don’t care much about sports and history, there’s something magical about Mongolian Naadam Festival which is listed on Intangible Cultural Heritages of UNESCO.  

Every year during Naadam Festival, Mongolians adjust to a nationwide festival atmosphere, feel more about ancient Mongol traditions and get really good at recognizing almost all wrestlers and regional brave and high-spirited horses come from all regions of the country.  

In order to get into the Mongolian Naadam Festival spirit and the emotions that come with it, we put 10 facts about the Naadam that will blow your mind – so you have something to delve into your Mongolian adventure with this amazing festival.


Fact 1: Recorded as The Largest Wrestling Competition in the World 

On September 17, 2011, 6,002 wrestlers participated in the Mongolian National Wrestling Match. It was the largest wrestling competition in the world, according to the Guinness World Records.



Fact 2: Happy Tears for Winner Horses

Can you believe that Mongolian do cry happy tears for the winner horses, sympathize and love with the last ones, yell at the TV or shout in horse racing field, and high-five strangers just like Olympic Games.



Fact 3: Glorified opening with ancient Nine White Banner

As just like ancient Mongol time, Naadam Festival officially begins with ceremony of carrying Nine white banners with nine white horsed warriors. It was first initiated by Chinggis Khan and the banners are made from tails of white horses.



Fact 4: Archery of Kids? Are you sure?

Yes, during the Naadam Festival, except male and female archers, child archers compete in three categories: Khalkh, Buriad and Uriankhai archery, which have differences in the bows and arrows used, as well as the distance of the target.



Fact 5 : Wrestling winner earn title of Titan (Avarga)

The first-time wrestling winner earns the right to call himself Arslan (lion), the runner-up to an arslan is a Zaan (elephant), and if the Arslan win the tournament twice in a row, he will have earned the title Titan (Avraga).



Fact 6 : Horse Jockey kids’ age starts from 7 years-old

If you love to bet on horse race, you might know that bet on jockey is always good idea and even the horse can be important for driving success. But it won’t be same as you think in Mongolian Naadam Horse Racing, Mongolian kids learn to ride horses at incredibly young ages, some starting around 2 years old.

mongolian naadam


Fact 7 : Size of Empire Cavalry in Modern Time

Each year, around 120,000 horses race in National Naadam Festival throughout the country. / it was estimated 121,450 horses in 2018 by Mongolian national statistics/



Fact 8 : Live show of Mongolian Traditional Clothing

During Naadam days and especially on National Costume Festival day on July 10, you can photograph and meet people with lot of traditional Mongolian clothing on display. Each ethnic group have their own distinct men's and women's clothing, which varies between the seasons and between previous historical and cultural significance.



Fact 9 : Spiritual Motivating Song for Horse Racing by Jockey Kids 

You will get to hear special song of Mongolian jockey kids singing- Giingoo - a mantra of GOD of HORSE- Khayankhyarvaa before and after racing.



Fact 10 : Brilliant National Sharpshooter

The title ‘national sharpshooter’ is bestowed on a winner in individual scoring at the Naadam Festival Archery competition. Depending on the number of wins and other achievements, other titles are as ‘young and improving sharpshooter’, ‘diligent sharpshooter’, ‘amazing sharpshooter’ and so on.



All the wrestlers, archers and both horse trainers and jockey kids train for entire year to give their all and deliver the performance of the year –within only 3 days. Finally, enjoying with Naadam festival with Mongolian people, enjoying just like as them, lining up at food stalls to buy Khuushuur /special food of the festival/ and posing for photos for almost everywhere with their colorful national costume will be life-changing experience for you and your family.

It is brilliant opportunity to see how Mongol nomads celebrate and enjoy the national pride festival without changing, these are just beginnings of what magic and wonder about Mongolian Naadam Festival.


The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.   



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