The most colorful of all Mongolian celebrations is the Naadam Festival. The Festival is held throughout the country in the month of July. People hold feast and enjoy the national sports of horse racing, wrestling and archery. Any individual willing to participate can take part in such contests. It is an exciting time with horses racing long distances across the steppe, by jockeys as young as 7 years old, bareback. The Naadam festival, as any other festivals, is expected by nomads as a great opportunity to gather with people, friends and exchange information and of course gossip, and even trade and redeem debts.
The ethnic Khazaks are known for their ancient tradition of hunting with trained Golden Eagles. In October, about when the first snow falls, the Eagle Festival is held in the far western province of Mongolia, Bayan-Olgii. The hunters gather together with their massive birds of prey, to celebrate their old tradition and to show their skills for the audience. The competition tests not just the bird’s courage and the hunter’s skill, but also the bond between hunter and bird.
In January/February the nomads in the Gobi hold the Camel Festival and enjoy themselves. Camel racing is a fun contest to watch, the polo on a camel back is also becoming popular. It is the time to really see and understand the survival skills of nomadic herders over the long harsh winter.
Ice festival is held on the frozen Lake of Khuvsgul in northern Mongolia, before or after the Camel festival in January/February. A local Shaman devotes his or her ritual of communication with soul of deceived for those gathered for the Ice Festival. Locals enjoy themselves of sliding on horse sleigh and racing their reindeers that they herd for living.