ANOTHER WONDERFUL NOMADS` DAY FESTIVAL AT STEPPE NOMADS
The annual Nomads' Day festival, initiated and organized by leading Mongolian inbound tour operator Selena Travel company and its Steppe Nomads eco resort in order to introduce Mongolian nomadic culture to the world, took place on 17-18 September for its fourth year in amazing Gun-Galuut nature reserve.
Listed in the "Must see" list of tourists, the Nomads' Day festival gave the participants the "golden chance to get introduced to real Mongolian culture and hospitality" within only 2 days.
Local nomads from Bayandelger and Arkhust soums of Tuv province and Baganuur district of Ulaanbaatar showed the visitors from 11 different countries such as the USA, UK, Australia, Switzerland and Malaysia, their unique nomadic cultural heritages and true hospitality of steppe nomads. On the 1st day of the festival the nomads competed in teams at "The Nomads' Day" competition showing how well they are practicing their nomadic traditions and "Gray Horse" team from Bayandelger soum won for its 2nd time. Judged by professional musicians and dancers of Tumen Ekh ensemble and Khan Khuur folk band the "Steppe Melodies" folk music competition also took place and children's group from Bayandelger Soum won while Arkhust group took the 2nd place. "Metropolitan Guys" tourists' competition was very competitive and honeymooners Amy and Will from Australia won the other 4 teams. On the 2nd day of the festival, a beauty contest between local rider couples took place and the participants witnessed the Three Manly Games of Mongolia: archery, wrestling and horse racing. "It's a shame that the horse that I bet on came 2nd in the horse race, but I'm so glad that I chose a very good horse that almost won. This festival's been fantastic, I'm happy that I'm here", says Lisa from the USA. The competitions among the locals are prized between two hundred thousand to a half million togrogs, which encourages the locals to compete actively. Selena Travel initiated the Nomads' Day festival in 2005 and have been organizing it jointly with the Governor's Office of Bayandelger Soum and Gun-Galuut community association. Private companies Eznis Airways, Mongol Basalt, Los Bandidos restaurant, Khan Ger and Narantuul hotel sponsored this year's festival.
This year, 2 local nomadic teams competed in the Nomads' Day nomadic cultural competition and Gray Horse team of Bayandelger topped for showing their knowledge and skills. It's their 2nd victory so far. 5 tasks of traditional nomadic customs including using traditional means of transport such as yak cart, camel cart etc, building their gers in the shortest time and welcoming the guests for tea, male members catching and breaking in horses, female members making ropes with camel wool and collecting dung for fire and little members playing traditional Mongolian game Shagai to show their mental capacities were performed.
Last year's last one came first! 3 music groups from 3 different soums took part in the Steppe Melodies folk art competition and Folk Melodies group from Bayandelger won with their magnificent children's dances and songs. The groups were to perform a song, a dance, a musical performance and another art of free choice such as contortion, praise song, dance etc within 18 minutes.
Honeymooners Amy and Will from Australia took the 1st prize among 5 teams competed in Metropolitan Guys tourists' competition. Joyful newly wed Amy collected animal dung while her husband Will saddled a Mongolian horse within 42 sec leaving 4 guys behind. This year "greeting" task was added into the competition tasks and the 2nd place winners Suzanna from Switzerland and Carlo from the UK's greeting was so well received by the audience. Suzanna yoddled while Carlo danced. Fun fun fun!
Another rider couple from Bayandelger Mr. Oidovdorj and his wife Gereltuya showed their talents and won in the Beauty of the Steppes competition. Their costume attracted lots of attention and they gained more points on tasks such as questions, sewing and counting games though their opponents sang much better than they did.
16 strong wrestlers took part in the wrestling and Bayarkhuu - the Elephant of Sukhbaatar province won. Mr. Bayarkhuu attended the Nomads' Day festival wrestling competition for his 3rd time and it's his 1st victory to get the 1st place. Last year, 32 wrestlers took part in the competition.
Archery attracted more people this year as the archers competed with a new type in the Khalkha archery called "Esunkhe", one of the most challenging archery of the Mongols. Master of Archery Mr. Nayanchuluun took the 1st place and master of archery Mrs. Altanzul took the 2nd place leaving 8 guys behind. Congratulations!
Horse racing was for adult year old horses (7 years old or older), considered to be the strongest of all horses. Horse racer from Khentii province Monkhjargal won in the race with his marvelous chestnut horse. Tourists enjoyed betting on race horses and Lisa and Nanette from the USA almost won! Their bet horse came 2nd! Well done, girls!
In the evening of 18 Sep - the final day of the joyful festival all guests enjoyed "Delicacies for Genghis" gala dinner at Steppe Nomads camp. Everyone admired the mouth watering steppe delicacies and drinks and took pictures with the competition winners for their inspiring Mongolian memories.