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Mongolia People: Warriors from Northern Grassland


 
800 years ago, they are the most feared killing machine in the world, the nightmare of Han emperors and the curse for Middle East and European countries. Whenever they go, cities are leveled to the ground and people are enslaved overnight. To shield from their marauding hordes, the construction of The Great Wall began as early as Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-221BC) and lasted for several thousands of years, but all in vain.

The combination of overwhelming military forces, strong determination and unexpected attacking tactics have resulted in many triumphs and legacies which outshine any military general ever lived. Even Mac Authur and Napoleon were impressed by their effective attacks and thorough plans and deemed them as unraveled and invincible soldiers.

The empire they built spanned the majority of the north hemisphere, extending all the way from the pacific ocean of Baltic Sea horizontally, from Siberia to Persian Gulf vertically. For the first time of history, east and west bumped into each other fiercely and trade prospered with unprecedented scale and meteoric speed. Under their law, a defenseless girl with a pack of gold can stroll along this great empire spanning 50 longitudes safely, not alone those merchants, missionaries and soldiers. Through this artery, frequent, in-depth and lasting cultural and economy exchange has become a defining scene. In this time, Marco Polo got acquaintance with Sakyamuni, Persian painters were fascinated by traditional Chinese painting and Beijing saw the penetration of Catholicism.

They are the Mongolian people, who are born warriors, archers and horse riders. Hailing from northern China, these least educated “barbarians” once smashed the old world, created a new one and governed it with law and order.
 
                   Table of Contents
 
 
 
the mongolian people
 


In this essay, I will lead you walk into their world which is still steeped in mysticism.

Mongolians are born in the saddle and at the core of their culture is horse racing. Millennia’s time spent on rolling grassland has cultivated another enlightened culture, which presents a sharp contrast to the rest of China. Naadam Festival celebrated each July to August is a perfect time for outsiders to sample their vibrant life embodied by archery, horse racing and wrestling. While the euphonious Khoomei(throat-sing) which breaks the eternal tranquility overhanging the grassland, reveals their romantic side. Because of its immeasurable value, throat singing, the enchanting voice from grassland has been included into UNESCO Intangible Heritage Site.
 
 
naadam festival
Naadam Festival
 
 
 

 
 


Yurt: the moving castle of Mongolian

When visit Mongolia, one of the highlights of the agenda is to stay in a yurt, which can be erected in half a hour as well as be carried away at any time.

Yurt is a fine example of practical usage and aesthetic beauty. These white “mushrooms” dotting along the rolling grasslands have a history mongolia yurtdating back to Genghis Kan’s era. It spits into two categories; the stationary yurts and the portable yurts. Cheap and simple materials including wooden pillars, woolen, furs and ropes are used to build them. Guided by time-weathered methods, these yurts can survive gales, sandstorms, extreme weather and the weight of snow and rain. Yurts have many advantages: it is cool in summer and warm in winter. It is well-lighted and spacious. It is easy to build and move. As a result, it is perfect for nomadic life.

From choosing a location to refurnishing its interior, building a yurt is art. The white color is adopted to reflect the scorching sun during summer and ensure coolness inside. Its round dome ensures super protection against 10-level gale, windstorm, rain and snow. Pillars are erected to support huge weight. Over the past hundreds of years, the Mongolians have mastered the skills so good that you can seldom hear the collapse of a yurt.

The size of yurts varies from accommodating 20 to over 2000 people. Its layout is settled, which obeys the tradition. Man’s items are put in the north, northwest, west and southwest quarters, while the rest space is occupied by women. This practice reflects the different labor allocation between both gender and living habit, rather than originate from the outdated feudal concept.

North: it is placed with an eight-leg table for sheltering quits. Covered with exquisite rugs, this table is a must-have for any newly-wedded son. The collar opening of the robes must head toward the Buddha. Men’s clothes are put above women’s. It is a taboo to put the neck opening towards the door, for this is a practice reserved for the deceased.

Northwest: the holy area reserved for Buddha. Sheltered within shrines and niches, Buddha statues are carefully locked. During various religious festivals, the Mongolians will light up candles and prepare offerings to pray for wealth and longevity.

West: designated as men’s privileged kingdom, this area is used to house guns, knives, saddles and wrestling gears. When you are in a yurt, it is a taboo to trample on or step across the saddles. This reflects their deep-rooted reverence for horse.
 
 
jinzhanghan banner yurt
 


Southwest: yogurt tanks and saddles.

Northeast: it is used to house women’s cases containing clothes and jewelry.

East: place for dish rack. For the sake of sanitary, food, meat and fruits are arranged into tiers. Tea and milk are put above the rest. The most treasured item in the home is milk barren. Bowls, spoons and shovels are not allowed to put upside down.

Southeast: Compared to other quarters, this area is designated for more flexible uses. In spring, the Mongolian put water buckets and dried cow dung here. It is also used as a temporary refugee for a newly-born calf. During summer and autumn, a yogurt tank is added, and a clay kitchen is erected to make milk products.

East: dog’s dining groove.

When you are exploring the yurt, remember do not go across the box containing cow dung. In a single rule, do not go across anything related to fire.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Khoomei (Throat-Singing蒙古长调,呼麦): with history dating back to over 1000 year ago, Khoomei is famed like the living fossil music of the Mongolian. It testified to the supremancy of Mongolian folk music and bonds people together. The performer can produce two voices meanwhile, one is a continued low bass part and the other is a high-pitched one. From some sense, it is more like a stunt or acrobatics performed by throat and tougue. During grand celebrations including Naadam Festival, you will have chance to apprehend its unique charm.
 
 
khoomei
Khoomei
 
 
 The Site of Xanada: (Shangdu,元上都): the Summer Palace of Kublai Khan
 
 
Built in 1251, the Site of Xanadu (Shangdu,元上都) is the Summer Palace of Kublai Khan. Together with the capital city Dadu (today’s Beijing), they are two most important cities of Yuan dynasty. Xanadu mirrors the perfect blending of Han agrarian culture and the nomadic culture of the Mongols; hence, it is of high historical value. In 2012, it has been included into UNESCO World Heritage Site. Main attractions including Palace City, Imperial City, Outer City, tombs, Aobao and Xanadu Museum...
 
inner mongolia xanadu
xanadu
inner mongolia xanadu
xanadu
The Site of Xanada: (Shangdu,元上都): where Han agrarian culture meets nomadic tradition
 
 
 
 

 
Aobao Worship Ceremony ( Ji Ao Bao)

It is the grandest worship ceremony of the Mongolian people. Just like Miao people’s Guzang Festival. Aobao Worship Ceremony roots in Shamanism and is influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. It usually kicks off during May to August. Xilingol has the most representative Aobao Worship Ceremony in China. With festivites covering ancestor worship, nature worship and hero worship, Aobao Worship Ceremony is also deemed as the forerunner of Naadam Festival.
 
aobao worship ceremony
aobao worship ceremony
aobao worship ceremony
 
 

 
Mongolia Custom: presenting Hada
 
One of the most distinctive etiquettes of the Mongols is to present Hada, a white ribbon made of silk. The masters usually present Hada by both hands, chanting auspicious words or toast songs. The guest is expected to bow slightly and lower the head to receive it. Besides, he or she should overlap both palms in front of chest and show appreciation.
 
 
presenting hadapresenting hada
presenting hadapresenting hada
 
 

Mongolian Cuisine
 
Mongolian people are renowned for their mouth-watering dishes. Milk, meat and grain share the same proportion of Mongolian diet, with each takes up around 30% percent each. If you are into meat and milk, then, i can tell you it is a gastronomical paradise, if you are a vegetarian, still, you wont go hungry, for vegetables are available there, though not in great variety.
(Click to read more on Mongolian Cuisine)
 
 
mongolian foodmongolian food
  
mongolian cheesemongolian milk tea
  
 
 


 

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