All-year-round Mongolians look forward to celebrating the country's biggest national festival, Naadam. The festival takes place every July, officially for three days, but in some parts of the country, people celebrate it for a month. During the festival, young children compete in horse racing, men fight in wrestling, and women and men contend in archery. Everyone is welcome to participate in Naadam. The contestants train hard for the competition for a year to show off their skills and endurance. Apart from the sports competition, concerts, parades, traditional costume contests, and opening and closing ceremonies make the national festival appealing. The Naadam is a significant nomadic event that plays a huge role in preserving Mongolian culture and tradition. That so, in 2010, it was inscribed on UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list.
The Naadam festival is locally known as Eriin Gurvan Naadam, which means "three games of men." In old times, only men used to participate in festival sports. Today, regardless of gender, children can participate in horse racing, and all male and female archers are welcomed in the archery contest across the country. The origins of the modern festival of Naadam lie in Mongolia's ancient nomadic life on the vast steppe and long practiced pastoralism. This nomadic lifestyle encouraged Mongolians to master horsemanship and archery. Mongolians follow and perform certain rituals and cultural elements for the celebration, including wearing traditional dresses, eating Khuushuur, drinking mare milk, singing long songs and overtone, playing horse fiddles, and dancing biy biyelgee-traditional Mongolian dance.
To preserve traditional Mongolian clothes - deel [deːɮ]; and to promote the usage of traditional Mongolian dresses among the population, a sub-festival of Naadam, Deeltei Mongol is held on the Chinggis Khan square in Ulaanbaatar, a day before the main festival. Deeltei Mongol means a Mongolian wearing a deel. Celebrating Deeltei Mongol, people with various types of deel parade around the government palace, and a fashion show presenting different ethnic deels is held for the public. The Deel consists of a long garment, sash, belt, and hand-made or ornamental buttons. The knowledge of deel making traditionally used to be transferred from a parent to a child, but in modern times the method is developed on the level of fashion technology and merged in pedagogy. Nowadays, even though contemporary fashion designers often modify the traditional classic style of deel, its core elements are still preserved and appreciated.
Mongolians make their winter deel with insulation of sheep fur and their summer deel with thin silk garments. Since Naadam occurs in mid-summer when the weather is at the peak of summer heat, thin summer deel is ideal for the occasion and often preferred to be worn instead of any other clothes. It could protect the body from the scorching sun heat as well as at the same it could keep the body cool. So, deel is doubtlessly a presentation of nomadic knowledge and lifestyle; therefore, it is listed on UNESCO's world intangible heritages in 2010. Across the world, many Mongol ethnic groups are still maintaining the culture of deel and wearing it for occasions.
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