Naadam, Day 1

Breakfast at 7:30am. Everyone met in the lobby at 8:30 and then it was off to Sukhbaatar Square for the  beginning of the day’s Naadam activities.

Costumed horsemen escorted the horse tail banners around the Parliament building and then on to the National Stadium, as did we.

Got there early enough to pick and choose our seats.

Opening ceremonies got underway at 11am. The whole stadium was a riot of color, both because of the costumes of the participants and also the umbrellas of the spectators since it decided to rain for a short while.

The horsemen came in with the horse tail banners and placed them in a stand. The President of Mongolia gave a short address. Then there were displays of horsemanship,  children doing a ribbon dance and wonderful music by the orchestra.

When it was over we piled back into our bright yellow Nomadic Journeys van and drove about 90 minutes east to experience a local Naadam. It was raining pretty good when we got there, but stopped just as the horses came into view. We had gotten there in time to see the end of the horse race. Had some airag and watched the wrestling finals. Took many photos of horses and their riders. The jockeys are boys and girls under ten. The horses in this race were two year olds. Prizes go the the first five to finish and the last.

We went to a ger in the village and were treated to airag, vodka, aruul, cheese and khuusuur, fried mutton turnovers.

Stopped at the new giant statue of Chinggis Khan on the way back.

Got back to the hotel at ten till eight. A long, but interesting and worthwhile day.

And here are pictures of it all:

Note- due to time limitations, these are as I took them, no cropping or adjustments except for a couple which were on the dark side.

First, the national Naadam-

Horse tail standards being brought out of Parliament building
Horse tail standards being brought out of Parliament building
Yak tail standards proceeding around Suhkbaatar Square
Horse tail standards proceeding around Suhkbaatar Square
Two ladies wearing del at Suhkbaatar Square
Two ladies wearing del at Suhkbaatar Square
National Stadium
National Stadium before the crowds arrive
Yak standards entering stadium
Horse tail standards entering stadium
Fabulous costumes
Fabulous costumes
Naadam officials
Naadam officials
Orchestra and conductor
Orchestra and conductor
President of Mongolia
President of Mongolia addresses crowd; had to take photo through a support
Listening to the President
Listening to the President
Ribbon dance
Ribbon dance
Horsemanship
Horsemanship
Procession of Mongol national flags
Procession of Mongolian national flags
Display of Mongol flags
Display of Mongolian flags
Making Naadam memories
Making Naadam memories
Balloons for sale outside National Stadium
Balloons for sale outside National Stadium
Mongol man kneeling outside of National Stadium
Mongol man kneeling outside of National Stadium

Then it was on to the 90 minute drive to the local Naadam-

Racers coming in; rain stopped shortly after I took this picture
Racers coming in; rain stopped shortly after I took this picture
Almost to the finish
Almost to the finish
Girls race right along with the boys
Girls race right along with the boys
A group coming to the finish
A group coming to the finish
Heading for the finish
Heading for the finish, but then it was time for wrestling....
Local Naadam stadium with wrestling
Local Naadam stadium with wrestling
Mongol wrestling
Mongol wrestling
Eagle dance after wrestling
Eagle dance after wrestling
Group of riders
Group of riders; took a lot of horse and rider pics while waiting for race results
Local family
Local family
Local rider
Local rider
Waiting for the horse race results
Waiting for the horse race results; then the winners started to appear
A race winner
A race winner
Jockey won a rug for mom
Jockey won a rug for mom
One of the racers
One of the racers
The winner of the race
The winner of the race
Local Naadam horses going home
Local Naadam horses going home
Tour group in ger for "snacks"
Tour group in ger for "snacks"
Mongol snacks: mutton with fat; aruul stacked on bread
Mongol snacks: mutton with fat; aruul stacked on bread

We stopped at this incredible statue on the way back to Ulaanbaatar-

Giant Chinggis Khan statue facing towards his birthplace to the east
Giant Chinggis Khan statue facing towards his birthplace to the east
Chinggis statue detail
Chinggis statue detail
Chinggis' view
Chinggis' view

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