Naadam Holiday

Naadam Holiday, also known as the Naadam Festival or simply as Naadam, is an event that’s observed from the 11th of July through the 15th of July each year. It is not only one of the most popular holidays in Mongolia but is also one of the largest ones in the country.

The beginning of this holiday starts on Revolution Day — a day that commemorates the country’s independence from China on that day in 1921. This holiday festival originally covered only a span of three days, but in 2014, the Law on Public Holidays was amended so that it would be observed over the course of five days.

The History Of Naadam Holiday In Mongolia

This holiday can be traced all the way back to the 12th century as a festival that allowed Mongolians to show off their military skill and preparedness. It remained as a holiday for this purpose, but during the 17th century, the games of this holiday began to feature a religious component. But the biggest change to this holiday occurred in the 1920s when it was used to commemorate the anniversary of Revolution Day.

Observing Naadam Holiday In Mongolia

Nowadays, the main focus of this festival is held in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. In this city, there’s a cultural fair that includes traditional music and ethnic dancing. This sets the stage for the main focus of the holiday. After that completes, then it’s time for sports to become the main focus of this day.

One of the main sports celebrated on this day is the sport of wrestling. This competition features anywhere from 500 to 1,000 participants and they have to wrestle with their shirts off. This is to prevent women from infiltrating the games covertly.

The next sport to be enjoyed is archery. This sport has been observed at this festival since the time of Ghengis Khan. This isn’t surprising considering just how important archery was to the Mongols. And Mongol archers would often shoot from the back of a horse, which brings us to the final event of this holiday, horse racing.  There are several different horse racing events held on this day.

Where is it celebrated?
Mongolia (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
Next year (2024)
Last year (2022)