More than 500 horses appear from the horizon with rumbling of the ground. The riders are the children between 6 years and 12 years. They fall from the horses here and there. The adults dash to them to check if they are injured. They make the children back on the horses even they are crying.
They all are descendant of Genghis Khan. All the children are covered with mud and sweat, but their eyes are shining for a hope. The Nadaam festival, or eriyn gurvan nadaam, is the biggest festival of the year for Mongolians. Usually occurring in July, it runs for three days in all parts of the country and highlights the greatest athletes in horse racing, archery, and wrestling: Mongolia’s most popular sports.
Women participate in all but the wrestling category. The word Nadaam means game or competition in Mongolian. Competitions take place days on the first two and merry-making is reserved for the third. This festival has been held for centuries as a form of memorial celebration, as an annual sacrificial ritual honoring various mountain gods or to celebrate a community endeavor.
The festivities kick off with a colorful parade of athletes, monks, soldiers marching in perfect uniformity, musicians performing powerful military tunes, and Mongolians dressed in Chinggis-style warrior uniforms.Mongolians have a high regard for horses since, for centuries, they have relied on them for transport, sustenance, and companionship. During the races, up to 1,000 horses can be chosen to compete. The horse races are broken down into six categories based on the age of the horses.
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