April 12, 2016

1036, 2456 MONGOLIA - The Traditional Naadam festival (UNESCO ICH)

1036 Camp of Naadam in Mongolia

Posted on 17.03.2014, 12.04.2016
Naadam (literally "games") is a traditional festival in Mongolia (but also in China, in areas in which live Mongols), termed locally Eriin gurvan naadam (the three games of men), which exist, probably, for centuries. The biggest festival (Naadam of the Country) is held in the capital Ulan Bator during the National Holiday from July 11-13, in the National Sports Stadium. It begins with an elaborate ceremony featuring dancers, athletes, horse riders, and musicians, after that follows the competitions in the three games, directly linked with the lifestyles of the Mongols: Bökh (Mongolian wrestling), horse racing and archery.

2456 Bökh (Mongolian wrestling)

Bökh (which means "durability") is the most important of the Mongolian culture's historic "Three Manly Skills". Genghis Khan considered it to be an important way to keep his army in good physical shape and combat ready. There are several different versions: Mongolian, Buryatian, Oirat and Inner Mongolian. The goal of a match is to get your opponent to touch his upper body, knee or elbow to the ground. There are no weight classes, age limits, or time limits in a match. The rank of a wrestler can only be attained during the Naadam festival, and is determined by the number of rounds won, being held for life.

The Nine Base White Banners are still ceremonially transported from Sukhbaatar Square to the Stadium to open the festivities. Another popular activity is the playing of games using shagai, sheep anklebones that serve as game pieces and tokens of both divination and friendship. Naadam represents an appropriate occasion for all Mongols to wear their traditional clothes, but also to sing, dance, eat and drink together. Oral traditions, performing arts, national cuisine, craftsmanship, and cultural forms such as urtyn duu (long song), khöömei (overtone singing), bii (biyelgee dance) and morin khuur (a bowed stringed instrument) also feature prominently during Naadam.

This is the only time when a country known for its emptiness (only 3 million people in more than 1,500,000 km2) experiences crowds and chaos. People dressed in Chinggis-style warrior uniforms, soldiers and monks can be seen all around the tournament place, and many families sit on the ground to enjoy the traditional meals. On the evenings, meals are accompanied with ancient songs, legends and stories about great horses, strong man and their deeds, in particular on the third day of the festival, reserved to merry-making. The rituals and customs of Naadam also accentuate respect for nature and the environment.

About stamps
On the postcard 1036 
China stamps
About the first stamp I wrote here. About the second stamp I can say only that was dedicated to olympics. The last one is part of the series Grotto Art in China, designed by  Qun Feng and issued on August 10, 1988:
• Yungang Grottoes, Big Buddha (North Wei) (2 CNY)
• Longmen Grottoes, Hercules (Tang Dynasty) (5 CNY) - It's on the postcard 1036
• Maijishan Grottoes, Bodhisattva (West Wei) (10 CNY)
• Dazu Carved Stone, Lady feeding chicken (Song Dynasty) (20 CNY)

On the postcard 2456
Mongolia stamps
Two of the stamps are part of the series Orient Express, about which I wrote here.

China stamps
The stamp is one of the two issued on October 10, 2011 to mark the 27th Asian International Stamp Exhibition.

USA stamps
The first two stamps are part of a definitive series with butterflies, about which I wrote here. About the last, which pays tribute to the majestic emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), I wrote here.

Naadam - Wikipedia
Naadam, Mongolian traditional festival - UNESCO official website
Naadam Festival in Mongolia - 210 Countries

Sender 1036:
Sent from Shenyang (Liaoning / China), on20.02.2014
Sender 2456:
Sent from Mongolia to China, then to United States (Greenvale / New York), then to Romania (Ploieşti / Prahova)

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