Mongolia Winter Festivals
You may think that Mongolian winter is extremely cold and harsh, but wait...Mongolia is not the coldest place on earth. Mongolian winter has its own beauty and specialty, offers you thrilling events to see and unique cultural activities to enjoy or attend. There are several ice and snow festivals /events are held in Mongolia during the winter time. Here are the top winter festivals which takes place in the various regions of Mongolia.
Also you may ask that how cold is Mongolian winter? Things to do in winter in Mongolia? What to see in winter Mongolia? Or need to know about winter travel tips and advice. So we included the answers to these questions in this article.
Enjoy your reading and get your needed information and don’t forget to share with your friends who are interested in Mongolian Winter Trips.
1. Winter Horse Festival of Mongolia
Location: Khentii province, Eastern Mongolia
Dates: 1-2November, 2019
Accommodation: Tourist Ger Camp
Mongolia and Mongolian people can not be imagined without horses. According to their roots, history, culture, and lifestyle, horses are one of the most important parts of them. The true destination, the land of horses, Mongolia offers uncountable activities related to the horses. One of them is the winter horse festival which attracts travelers, adventurers, explorers, photographers, riders and horse lovers. The festival is organized annually in Chingis Khaan’s homeland, today’s Khentii province in the eastern part of Mongolia.
Things to see and do at the Winter Horse Festival of Mongolia
Visitors can experience the authentic horse culture of Mongolia and feel the thrilling activities, you can see and capture horse catching, racing, and national art and music performances. Participants and local riders show off their horse skills, including horse training and taming. Beautiful national dressed Mongolians on horseback who feels and proud of their heritages and traditions. If you are a photographer or interested in cultural photography then this is the right attraction for you to take beautiful pictures. Visit the following link to see the amazing photos captured from this winter festival, taken by Batzaya Choijiljav, which is published on dailymail.co.uk
2. Tsagaan Sar - Lunar New Year
Location: Throughout the country
Dates: 23-24 February, 2020
Accommodation: Local Hosts and Hotel in Ulaanbaatar
Mongolian Tsagaan Sar, the lunar new years the main celebration of Mongolians. The very traditional and cultural festival, one of the official public holidays of Mongolia, is held annually at the end of winter, according to the Lunisolar calendar. Every family celebrates the festival throughout the country. This year, Mongolian Tsagaan Sar will be held on 5 th of February, 2018, the year of Earth Pig as animal zodiac cycle.
What is Tsagaan Sar?
Mongolians have been living as a nomadic way of life for thousands of years on the Eurasian great steppe. Depending on their lifestyle their culture and tradition has become so unique. They had to look for the better pasture to feed the animals and migrate several times a year throughout the country. They had not enough time to spend and meet their relatives regularly. It might be the reason for celebrating this uncommon holiday. The main purpose of this festival is to greet, to meet each other, to know how their life is going on, how is the pasture of the other regions etc…And finally they were celebrating their happiness to see each other as their well living, to respect older ones, to love younger ones and it may seems to be a family holiday. It contains longtime traditions, customs, beliefs, heritage, respect, and love. So warm and nice celebration of the human.
How do Mongolians celebrate The Tsagaan Sar?
There are several countries celebrate Mongolian Tsagaan sar Festival, including Russian Buryats, and inner Mongolians. For modern Mongolians, The half of Mongolians live in the capital city, civilization has been infected their nomadic tradition. But, they have kept their traditional heritages well in this modern world.
Recommended tour: Lunar New Year or Tsagaan sar-2019 Tour / 7 Days
3. Silver Reeds Winter Festival
Location: Khovd province, western Mongolia
Dates: 7-8 March , 2020
Accommodation: Local Hotel
One of the biggest winter events of Mongolia initiated by WWF and is held once in two years in Khovd province, western Mongolia. It has been organized by locals under the purpose of promoting diverse ethnical cultures, old traditions, and winter sporting games and developing winter tourism.
What to see and do at the Silver Reeds Winter Festival?
This is one of the most attractive winter events in Mongolia, takes place on the Khar Us Lake. Local ethnic people gather and perform their arts, music, culture, customs, and heritages. It gives us a great chance to see and experience the diverse cultural show at the same time. They compete by several nominations, such as uncle's bone shooting on the ice, the traditional game of Mongolia, lovely couples dress in their national costumes on camelback and compete with other lovely couples, cute kids are also one of the important parts of this event to show their ability to inherit their tradition. Camel race, archery, masked show, and other winter sporting activities are organized on this festival. You can also enjoy the beauty of nature and ice sculptures around there. For the photographers, it can be a good attraction to take colorful pictures including natural beauty and nomadic culture. In addition to this, The Silver Reeds Winter Festival is not just an event which organized by locals, it is also promoting us the responsibility to our natural earth and leaving positive impacts on the society.
You may be interested in photos taken from this festival, published on boredpanda.com
Visit here to enjoy: Moments From Camel Race From Silver Reeds Winter Festival In Mongolia
4. Ice Festival at Khovsgol Lake
Location: Lake Khovsgol, Northern Mongolia
Dates: 2-3 March, 2020
Accommodation: Tourist Ger Camp
What a wonderful and amazing nature, the frozen world… Since 2002, an attractive and a challenging ice and snow festival has been held in every March on the frozen lake Khovsgol in northern part of Mongolia, organized by local tourism community.
What is going on around the Ice Festival at Khovsgol Lake?
Local communities gather on the lake for the winter ice festival, there are several winter and cultural activities hold such as ice skating, horse sleighing race, ice sumo and traditional winter games and competitions. Nomadic reindeer herders and shamans show off their cultural performances, such as arts, music and shaman rituals. It has been developing year by year, international visitors come to the festival to capture scenic images and experience winter Mongolia and nomadic culture. It is worth to visit there.
Recommended tour: Mongolia Winter Festivals-2019 Tour
Related News: Journey to the Ice Festival in Northern Mongolia
5. Thousand Camel Festival in the Gobi
Location: Omnogobi province
Dates: 6-7 March, 2020
Accommodation: Local guest house
Are you wondering and imagining about the Gobi desert in the winter, golden sands covered by white snow…The Mongolian Gobi is not only famous for its beauty, camels, nomads, dinosaur findings but also it has been known as its winter scene. You can experience the Mongolian Gobi in winter too. Thousand Camel Festival has been organizing for 20 years, by local camel herding communities under the purpose of protecting two humped Bactrian camels and increase income and productivity of local nomads through tourism. So colorful, uncommon event, attracts foreign and local travelers and culture lovers and has already been to famous winter festival in the world.
Why Mongolians celebrate this festival?
"Camel Festival," is already one of the most famous winter festivals in the world organized by a local non-governmental organization working to protect and preserve the Bactrian camel population, which has been steadily declining over the past twelve years. Umnugovi /South Gobi/ province leads Mongolia and the world by Bactrian camel population.
To celebrate Mongolian camels and protect the species and pass the rich Mongolian camel breeding heritage to the next generation. Nomads from far and near wore their best traditional costume and ridden their best camels to attend the festival.
“Mongolian Camel-999” festival, Mongolia breaks Guinnes World Record, having organized the race of the largest number of camels. Total of 1,108 camels came to the finish line out of 1,115 registered to the race. The race was just over 15 km long with the fastest finishing in 35 min 12 sec and the whole race completed in 1 hr 8 min. The previous record for the largest camel race belonged to Inner Mongolia, China, where 555 camels raced in 5000 meters in 2011.
What to see and do at the Thousand Camel festival?
The Thousand Camel Festival starts with camel parade. During the festival, local camel herders compete in a race, camel polo tournaments, beauty contests are organized. It is not only the event of competition also, Mongolian musicians and dancers show off folk performances. One of the highlights of the festival is a female camel gave birth to a little colt on the grounds of this festival, which incident cheered the viewers, who took this as a good omen representing great increase in the camel population. You will also explore nomadic lifestyle and prehistoric sights on the trip to this festival and support the local community and helping the raise of Bactrian camels when you attend this event.
Recommended tour: Mongolia Winter Festivals-2019 Tour
6. Golden Eagle Festival - Winter
Dates: 4-5 March, 2020
The highlight of the festival takes Kazakh people from Bayan-Ulgii province. Ninety percent of the population here is Kazakh, a group that is renowned for its hunters’ extraordinary skill in using golden eagles to hunt for small prey. The festival has been celebrated since 2000 and now attracts many travelers and photographers. Each year the number of eagle hunters participating in the festival is increasing which makes the festival more colorful and spectacular.
What to see at The Golden Eagle Festival?
This fascinating festival is held near Ulaanbaatar, the capital city. Kazakh people of Mongolia bring and promote their heritage to their next generation and to the world. Local Kazakhs show their eagle hunting culture and their unique traditions. See Incredible Photos from Spring Golden Eagle Festival taken by Batzaya Choijiljav, traveler and photographer.
Travel Tips/Mongolia Winter Travel Guide
Many travelers and photoraphers ask us that " How cold is Mongolia in winter?", What to see and do in winter in Mongolia? So we are answering to this question and providing you Mongolian winter travel advices and tips.
How Cold is Mongolian Winter?
In Mongolia in winter the temperature is generally from -40°C (-40°F) to -10°C (14°F), but during the festival months, Mid February to mid March, the temperature is milder, it is from -20°C (-4°F) to -5°C (23°F). So if you are planning to visit Mongolia for the winter festivals, you should not afraid of the coldness.
What to Wear in Winter in Mongolia?
Clothing is the key for winter travel. If you don’t have winter travel experience or haven’t been to Mongolia in winter you need to know about packing for the cold weather. So, you should pack the following clothes in your luggage.
Packing Advice for the Winter Trip in Mongolia
Wear layers of clothing, wool or cotton under fleeces, thermal underwear, cotton or cashmere pullovers, polar jacket, and furs. Selection of cotton or woolen socks, cashmere under gloves, woolen hat with ear flaps, wind proof gear. Thick arctic clothing and boots are necessary. If you have ski boots they would be ideal. Wear sunglasses, or better still snow glasses, to prevent snow blindness.
You need Mongolian cashmere products you can buy them in Ulaanbaatar stores at a reasonable price. In addition to this, Mongolian cashmere is the finest and the most quality cashmere in the world, because of our harsh winter condition where cashmere goats can stamina. Check out our best cashmere brands:
Also, you can buy some national costumes if you are interested in. Mongolian national winter-costumes are the best fit for the country’s winter. It is called Mongolian deel which keeps your body temperature and prevents from the wind, very comfortable to wear. Why not try this. You can buy fur outer wear and hats from the NaranTuul market, the market contains everything you need for the best price. It may one of the city experiences while on your tour.
All season packing list for Mongolia trip is here which you need to know too.
What to Pack for a Trip to Mongolia
Take Care of your Camera in Winter
Once, you have equipped yourself, and then don’t forget to protect your camera and its battery. As we are the specialist in photography tour operator of Mongolia, we have experience in winter photography too. So please, don’t give up reading this article until the ends.
The average temperature from February to March in Mongolia is -20°C (-4°F) as I said above. The cold saps battery life. Usually, a fully-charged camera battery will last for 50 photos (without flash), but in these cold conditions around 25 is good. If you take the battery out and warm it for a while, you may be able to take another 10. It is also recommended that you keep your camera inside your jacket when not use it. If you want to take lots of photos prepare more batteries for your camera, and keep them warm. Here are the detailed advice for the winter photography that you should check out too.
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