Originating from the Mongolian Empire of Chinggis Khaan, Naadam is a festival of which the nation is proud and a symbol of unity among the nomads. Meaning, ‘the games’, Naadam is celebrated every year from 11 to 13 July across Mongolia and focuses on the three traditional sports of horseracing, wrestling and archery. There has never been a postponement or cancellation of the Naadam Festival even during war or periods of recession. This year, COVID-19 pandemic has hit more than 210 countries and disrupted the lives of millions; across the globe sporting events have been postponed – most notably, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Nevertheless, Mongolia will hold the Naadam Festival, but under strict measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus that has globally infected over 7 million. The festival will take place at same time in Ulaanbaatar city and 339 soums of 21 provinces on 10-13 July. Traditionally, there are ‘little naadams’ in different parts of the country, which occur independently from the national Naadam. In addition, the opening and closing ceremonies will be televised and with an emphasis on local visitors.
Due to the pandemic, Mongolia’s biggest tourist attraction, the ‘Naadam’ Festival, is expected to be held without foreign audiences. According to statistics, at least 11,000 tourists come to Mongolia every year specifically to watch the Naadam.
This year, will mark the 2229th anniversary of the nation; the 814th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire and the 99th anniversary of the People’s Revolution in Mongolia, which brought independence from Chinese occupation.