July 17, 2010

Naadam


I just experienced my third Naadam celebration this past weekend, this time with just Tunga and her family which was a nice change of pace. It was very relaxing and tons of fun to spend time together. We watched horse races (with children wearing helmets thanks to Alex's hard work), national wrestling, archery and thousands of people from the community getting together to celebrate, wear traditional clothes, eat their favorite foods, and have a wonderful time.

Naadam festival is an annual summer celebration in Mongolia which is like March Madness, the Super Bowl, and the World Series wrapped into one big celebration every year. It features wrestling, horse racing, archery and ankle-bones, with some basketball and volleyball thrown in there for fun. My first summer with my host family was great. They introduced me out to all the festivities, filled with Coca Cola, meat pastries called huushuur and even a little ice cream or two. We sat in the stands to watch wrestling, stood beside the archers as they shot their arrows and talked with our family and friends while all the horses raced around the countryside. Once the official events had passed, we went to our uncle’s house and ate an entire goat during what was pretty much a family reunion. Every part of the goat was eaten...every part. I mostly hung out with the little kids and played games, while avoiding the popular intestines as long as I could. If you can imagine what intestines filled with fried blood would taste like...it tasted worse than you think, I promise. Two years later, I'm still playing with kids and avoiding the intestines...

Here are some long lost videos from my first year in case you want to check them out!


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