Intangible heritage

Mongol Biyelgee: Mongolian traditional folk dance. ©UNESCO 2009
Mongol Biyelgee: Mongolian traditional folk dance

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Language(s): English, Mongolian

Summary/Historical Context

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Customs and traditions

The Mongolian Tuuli is an oral tradition comprising heroic epics that run from hundreds to thousands of lines and combine benedictions, eulogies, spells, idiomatic phrases, fairy tales, myths and folk songs. They are regarded as a living encyclopaedia of Mongolian oral traditions and immortalize the heroic history of the Mongolian people. Epic singers are distinguished by their prodigious memory and performance skills, combining singing, vocal improvisation and musical composition coupled with theatrical elements. Epic lyrics are performed to musical accompaniment on instruments such as the ''morin khuur'' (horse-head fiddle) and ''tovshuur'' (lute). Epics are performed during many social and public events, including state affairs, weddings, a child's first haircut, the ''naadam'' (a wrestling, archery and horseracing festival) and the worship of sacred sites. Epics evolved over many centuries, and reflect nomadic lifestyles, social behaviours, religion, mentalities and imagination. Performing artists cultivate epic traditions from generation to generation, learning, performing and transmitting techniques within kinship circles, from fathers to sons. Through the epics, Mongolians transmit their historical knowledge and values to younger generations, strengthening awareness of national identity, pride and unity. Today, the number of epic trainers and learners is decreasing. With the gradual disappearance of the Mongol epic, the system of transmitting historic and cultural knowledge is degrading

on this subject: Nomination file - Dossier de candidature

Place/country: Mongolia,
Series: 2009 Inscriptions on the Urgent Safeguarding List/Inscriptions 2009 sur la liste de sauvegarde urgente
Type: Documentary
Credits: Mongolian national Commission for UNESCO (publisher), Mongolian national Commission for UNESCO (producer).
Published in: 2009

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