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Nadam Fair

Most Mongolian people live in Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Jilin and Liaoning. They have their own spoken and written language, which belongs to the Mongolian group of the Altaic language family.

Nadam, which means entertainment or games in Mongolian. It is a grand gathering of the Mongolian people during the golden period of autumn between July an August when the grass on the meadows is ripe and the livestock in their best physical condition.

As early as the beginning of the 13th century, Mongolian tribe chiefs started holding big gathering called Nadam. Historical records said Genghis Khan held a grand Nadam Fair focusing on archery after conquering Khwarizmi. Afterwards, the Nadam Fair became a regular major traditional event including archery,horseracing and wrestling, which are commonly called the Big Three Arts among Mongolians. During the Qing Dynasty, the Nadam Fair was held once in six months or in two years. The winners were prized with horses, camel, cow, sheep, brick tea or silk.

To the Mongolian people, the Nadam Fair is ancient, sacred, grand and full of fun. At the fair, thousands of people, men and women, old or young, from all over Inner Mongolia and other Mongolian habitats gather together on the vast green fair site decorated with colorful flags. They wear their holiday best, drink koumiss, sing folk songs, eat roasted sheep, and play horse head-shaped instrument and dance from dark till dawn.

The main events of a Nadam Fair are wrestling, archery and horse racing. Wrestling is the most popular and the widest-spreading game among Mongolians. For the Mongolian people, the wrestling is not only a game of strength, but also a game of wisdom. Archery is a favorite game among Mongolians who regard bow and arrows as the symbol of manhood, the weapon and also the mascot they must carry with themselves everywhere. Horse racing is the most eyeball-attracting event in a Nadam Fair.

The Nadam is also known as a fair of agricultural and livestock goods. Apart from the industry and farming sideline products, there are also other local special goods, such as beef and mutton, fumed food, cheese, dried cheese, cream, milk curd and yoghurt. Ghee tea and baked full mutton are also supplied at the tea booths and restaurants.

Nadam Fair is not only a joyful occasion to celebrate the harvest, the national unity and the achievements the Mongolians have made, but a comprehensive cultural and athletic meeting with focuses on traditional games but also including performances, exhibitions, information exchanges, trade and other activities.

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