Naadam festival was created around 300 B.C. Our ancestors used to hold Naadam as a practice for armies and a ceremony for worshiping the sacred mountains. Naadam festival consists of three sports including a horse-racing, archery and wrestling. Horse-racing is a favorite sport of nomads since ancient time. There is an established system for selecting the horses, training them and conducting the contests. Nomads have developed this system for centuries. There are six categories of horseracing, depending on the age of horses. Horses are prepared for months for the race, and horses are fed a special diet for weeks in advance. There are no tracks or courses; it is just an open countryside. Before departing for the start line, riders ride around a circle and sing ancient melody called giingoo, which cheers on the riders as well as the horses. During the race the riders scream goog, which makes the horses more enthusiastic. The winner is declared tumnii ekh or ‘the best of ten thousand.’ The five winning horses are admired and talked about in reverence by the audiences, and traditional poems are read out extolling the virtues of riders and trainers. The five winning riders drink horse milk (airag) and sprinkle it on the horse’s backside. Because of this custom the winning five horses are called ‘five of airag.’

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