Naadam, Mongolian traditional festival
Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Naadam, Mongolian traditional festival
Naadam is a national festival celebrated every year from 11 to 13 July across Mongolia that focuses on three traditional games: horseracing, wrestling and archery. Mongolian Naadam is inseparably connected to the nomadic civilization of the Mongols, who have long practiced pastoralism on Central Asia’s vast steppe. Oral traditions, performing arts, national cuisine, craftsmanship, and cultural forms such as long song, Khöömei overtone singing, Bie biyelgee dance and Morin khuur fiddle also feature prominently during Naadam. Mongolians follow special rituals and practices during the festival, such as wearing unique costumes and using distinctive tools and sporting items. Festival participants revere the sportsmen, sportswomen, and children who compete, and winners are rewarded titles for their achievements. Ritual praise songs and poems are dedicated to the contestants in the events. Everyone is allowed and encouraged to participate in Naadam, thus nurturing community involvement and togetherness. The three types of sports are directly linked with the lifestyles and living conditions of the Mongols and their transmission is traditionally undertaken through home-schooling by family members, although formalized training regimens have recently developed for wrestling and archery. The rituals and customs of Naadam also accentuate respect for nature and the environment.
- Nomination form: English|French
- Consent of communities: Mongolian/English
- Consent of communities: English/Mongolian (film)
Decision 5.COM 6.32
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: Naadam has been passed down from generation to generation and is recognized by Mongolian communities as an essential expression of their nomadic cultural identity;
- R.2: Inscription of Naadam on the Representative List could contribute to the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage while promoting intercultural dialogue as well as mutual respect for cultural diversity and human creativity;
- R.3: The nomination outlines recent and current efforts to safeguard the festival and proposes a coherent plan including the establishment of training centres and the inclusion of teaching programmes in the education system to ensure its viability, supported by the strong commitment of the State and the communities;
- R.4: The nomination demonstrates that Naadam heritage bearers and local communities supported its elaboration, and it includes their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: Naadam is included in the National Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mongolia maintained by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
© 2009 by Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO
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