Sunday, July 31, 2011

A day at the races

Every town (aimag) and village (soum) holds a local Naadam in July or August. Most soum in Hovd aimag is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and I was invited to attend by one of the communities I had worked with in the autumn, so Oyungerel and I timed our research visit to coincide. Because it was an anniversary the prize money was high, as much as a motorbike or car for the winner of wrestling or horse-race and many former residents returned, so the usually quiet village was transformed.

There are many cultural beliefs associated with Naadam, there is a crazy dash at the end of the race for yearlings as Mongolians try to touch the winning horse, the belief is they will gain strength and speed from the sweat, Munkdologor emerged from the melee with half a dozen hairs from the horse’s tail which she distributed to my party who carefully put the hair in a safe place. It is beneficial to have your picture taken with a strong horse, maybe I will gain strength for the gobi marathon in September.

No comments: