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WINTER FESTIVALS IN MONGOLIA


Winter in Mongolia is cold, but incredibly beautiful. Temperatures here typically ranging from -20°C to – 45°C degrees. Traditionally, it is a quiet season for tourists. In a country still largely undeveloped, and with a rudimentary infrastructure, many parts of Mongolia are difficult to negotiate in the winter. The extreme cold dissuades visitors further. But this is exactly how we like it. Mongolia’s winters are home to incredible landscapes for those who are prepared.
We offer a unique opportunity with Mongolia’s dramatic winter landscapes to attend a festival held on the frozen surface of Lake Hovsgol, and join a celebration in honor of the Gobi’s Bactrian camel.


ICE FESTIVAL
Date: 1-3rd of March
Venue-: at the Khuvgul lake, Khatgal village

Have you ever dream of experiencing one of the coldest, but still mild winter of the earth?

Or would you want to explore a mystery of how nomads survive with their 5 snouts of pastoral animals within temperature as drops as minus 30 degrees? Or want you have an extraordinary experience as riding Mongolian horse or enjoying horse sleigh in the snow covered vast white steppe? Perhaps you are missing a natural black ice which is about 1.5m thick. And want you skate on it?
You can find all your winter dreams come true in Mongolia during its Ice Festival! Participation to the Ice Festival at the Lake Khuvsgul surely offers unbelievable memories to you. The famous "Ice Festival" will be held at the same time than the International Skating Event as included some interesting activities of shamanic live performance, sumo wrestling on the ice, competition of horse sleighs and driving on the ice, as well as offering great opportunities to take part in optional trips of dog sledding, horse sleighing, horse riding, visiting reindeers and nomad families and many more...


CAMEL FESTIVAL
Date: 6th and 7th of March 
Venue: Bulgan village, South Gobi

Camel festival, held in the Gobi Desert, is a celebration of the endangered Bactrian camel. It is already one of the most famous winter festivals in the world. This festival was first initiated in 1997 by the locals of Umnugovi (South Gobi) province to celebrate Mongolian camels, to conserve the 2-humped Bactrian camel species, pass the rich Mongolian camel breeding heritage to the next generation, and to promote winter tourism in Mongolia.  
It’s an entertaining 2-days of event that features various contests related to Mongolian camel culture and lots of local music and dances. Nomads from far and near wear their best deels and ride their best camels to attend the festival as it’s their pride and a big celebration for them. 


TSAGAAN SAR (Lunar New Year)
Date: 16th of Feb, 2018
Venue: Throughout Mongolia

The Mongolian Lunar New Year, commonly known as Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian: Цагаан сар / is the first day of the year according to the Mongolian lunar calendar. The festival of the Lunar New Year is celebrated by the Mongols
The customs of Tsagaan Sar is much different depending on the region. In Mongolia around the New Year for example, families burn candles at the altar symbolizing Buddhist enlightenment. Also people greet each other with holiday-specific greetings such as Амар байна уу? (Amar baina uu?), meaning "Are you living peacefully? Mongols also visit friends and family on this day and exchange gifts. A typical Mongol family will meet in the home dwelling of the eldest in the family. Many people will be dressed in full garment of national Mongol costumes. When greeting their elders during the White Moon festival, Mongols perform the zolgokh greeting, grasping them by their elbows to show support for them. The eldest receives greetings from each member of the family except for his/her spouse. During the greeting ceremony, family members hold long, typically blue, silk cloths called a khadag. After the ceremony, the extended family eats sheep's tail, mutton, rice with curds, dairy products, and buuz. It is also typical to drink airag and exchange gifts.
The day before Tsagaan Sar is called Bituun, the name of the lunar phase of a new or dark moon. The lunar phases are Bituun (dark moon), Shined (new crescent moon), Tergel (full moon), and Huuchid (waxing moon). On the Bituun day, people thoroughly clean around home, herders also clean the livestock barns and shades, to meet the New Year fresh. The Bituun ceremony also includes burning candles to symbolize enlightenment of the samsara and all sentient beings and putting three pieces of ice at the doorway so that the horse of the deity Palden Lhamo could drink as the deity is believed to visit every household on this day. In the evening, families gather together—usually immediate family, in contrast to the large feast gatherings of White Moon day — and see out the old year eating dairy products and buuz. Traditionally, Mongolians settle all issues and repay all debts from the old year by this day. 
Based on our community based tourism network we offer our clients a wide range of opportunity to involve in the preparation of Tsagaan Sar and learn all customs, experience the fantastic celebrations in real nomad way.
Contact us for your custom-made private trip for experiencing this authentic tradition!