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Videos of Mongolia : traditions, culture and nomadic life



We are happy to share with you some moments of mongolian life through some video clips we made along our frequent visits in countryside.


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Tsagaan Sar Mongolia News Year tea preparation Buzz preparation

New year greetings in steppe 

New year greetings in ger 

Tea preparation and offering 

Buuz preparation
mongolian horse racer Duel of the steppe Mongolian spectators Folkloric song

Horses gathering before winter race

Winter horse race

Winter motorcycling

Nomadic long-song

Airag feast Catching foal first time Nomad crossing river with cows Horse sledge race on frozen Khovsgol lake

Airag feast

Catching foal first time

Crossing river with cows

Horse sledge race on frozen lake

Tsagaan Sar : New Year with Nomadics families



New year greetings in steppe


New year greetings in ger 



Tsagaan Sar, the mongolian new year


           With the sunrise, the greeting ceremony starts inside the family. The oldest person stays in "Hoimor" (ger’s northern side) and younger family members greet him or her first and then greet each other. The younger greets the older by extending arms with palms up and holding  the older’s arms from underneath. Everybody greets each other except husband and wife. Usually, people hold "Khadag" (long and narrow piece of yellow, white or blue silk with a spiritual meaning) in their arms.


            When the greeting ceremony is over, everyone sits behind the table and starts exchanging "Khoorog" (a snuff bottle made usually of semi-precious stones and filled with finely pulverized tobacco). The typical greeting words are "Daaga dalantai, byaruu bulchintai, sureg mal targan orov uu?", which can be translated as “Does your 2-year old horse have enough fat on the withers (means good health), does your 2-year old yak have enough muscles (means good power), did all your animals pass winter safely?" and "Sar shinedee saihan orov uu? Nas suuder hed hurev?", which is used to ask an old person about his/her good health and age as people are proud of old age. Exchanging Khoorog means expressing friendly intentions to each other and is usually the starting point of introducing a stranger. Exchanging Khoorog creates a warm atmosphere between people and makes the start of a friendly talk that helps to learn the true heart of the stranger. 


These videos were taken at the beginning of February 2006, near the city of Baganuur about 120 kms east of Ulaanbaatar, and at Mr. Davaa’s family wintering in about 40 kms northwest of Ulaanbaatar. 


See also : our special section about Tsagaan sar on our page Culture

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Traditional cooking in Mongolian families


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Tea preparation and offering 



Tea offering


There are no strangers in the steppes. There is no special permission required to enter inside ger (yourte) in the countryside of Mongolia. The ger family will welcome everybody regardless of whether you know them or not. Any visitor is offered food and drink. The usual drink during summer is Airag (fermented mare’s milk) and during winter hot tea with milk and salt. Tea with milk and salt is the main and the most favorite drink for rural people.


This video is taken at the beginning of February 2006 at Mr. Davaa’s family wintering in about 40 kms northwest of Ulaanbaatar.  


See also: the receipt of the mongolian tea on our page "Receipts of Mongolian cooking"

Buuz preparation 




The buuz, kind of Mongolian ravioli steam cooked, is a traditional dish consumed in great quantities at the time of Tsagaan sar, lunar New Year.

Each family activates itself several days in advance, to prepare sufficient food and drink for the 3 days of visits and feasts which follow New Year's day. The buuz are then prepared per tens, even by hundreds.

This recording was taken in a yurt of the family, in the suburbs of Ulaanbaatar, January 25, 2006

See also: t
he receipt of the buuz on our page "Receipts of Mongolian cooking"

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Winter horse race in Mongolia

Self driving trips

in Mongolia



Race horses gathering before race




Duel in heart of the frozen steppe




Spectators returning home on motorcycle





Winter Horse Racing

Unlike in the west nomads do not feed horses in the winter season and Mongolian horses stay in the wild on open pastures during winter. They migrate from place to place looking for better grazing and feed on dry grass under the snow. Often such migrations take place for hundreds of kilometers. 

Traditionally, Mongolians do not make winter horse races to protect animals. However, for the last several years horse racing has developed as professional sports among the nomadic families as well as urban people. Today, horse racing is increasingly made all year round. For the winter racing purposes, horses are kept near Ger (Yurt) and are specially fed. 

These clips were taken on January 22, 2006 in Ulziit soum in about 40 kms south of Ulaanbaatar during the training race before the main Tsagaan Sar (White Month), the Mongolian lunar new year, race. 

The horses raced in the open steppe for about a 10-km distance. The outside temperature was minus 15 degrees Celsius.

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Mongolian nomadic folkorics songs


Nomadic melody- Zuungobi 




Bayan Tsagaan Nutag


This traditional long-song called “Bayan Tsagaan Nutag” (translated as Rich White Country) was born among “Bayad”s, an ethnic group of western Mongolia. The song expresses the spirit of people who respect Nature, Altai Mountains, its soil and pristine water, and religion. The splendid beauty of Altai Mountains and its religious peaks worshiping the Buddhist gods “Ochirvaani”, “Namsrai” and “Tarva”, the magnificence of the ceremony giving sacrifice to the mountains with milk of 100, 80, 60 horses and happiness of its participants as well as long lasting memories of good men are all cherished in this song.  

This long-song is often performed during ceremonies and feasts as the peak of the event.


The recording was taken during the family gathering of Mr. Monkhnasan on the shores of picturesque Baganuur (a small lake among sanddunes) in Zuungobi soum (town) of Uvs aimag (province) on 

August 8,  2005.

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Mongolian nomadic traditions



Airag feast - Nalaih 








Airag feast - Branding colts

Mongol nomads can not be imagined without horses. For them horse is not just a one kind of livestock , which they using as a transport or food, it’s something much more bigger, and closer – horses are friends for all life. Mongolians says “Was born on horse back”. Parents or older people teaching to children how to ride a horse, how to be a good horse herder, to love and respect horses, when they are still babies- 3 or 4 years old. That’s why for Mongols most respectable animal is horse.

In the mid of autumn ( September- October ) nomads celebrating a ceremony of ”Branding colts”. The day of Branding colts is very important for them. Horse herders choosing a good day and good time to make this ceremony, according the lunar calendar. This day horse herder stamping their foals, inviting relatives, friends, neighbors and making an airag feast. During the feast everyone have to drink at least three big bowls (2-3 liters) of airag, and sing a song. At the end of feast, Mongolians playing a game called “Dembe”. This game for two person, each side trying to guess right sum of fingers, which both shows to each other. Loser have to drink a bowl of airag. It can continue many hours until one of sides will say “enough”.

This clip was recorded during Ganbat family Branding colts selebration,Tov aimag, September 19, 2005

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  Mongolian nomadic life


Catching foal for first time for milking





Crossing flooding river with cows



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  Mongolia in winter


Horse sledge race on frozen Khovsgol lake



Horse sledges are used for transportation in winter by locals around the Khovsgol lake. They are also used for local races.

This video was captured in february 2008 during the ice festival on north of Khatgal




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