The Naadam festival begins with a ceremonious journey by riders from the State Guard in the traditional military attire bearing the Nine White Horsehair Banners of Chingis Khaan from the State House, to the stadium. At the opening and closing ceremonies, there are impressive parades of mounted cavalry, athletes and monks.
The opening ceremony starts at 11 a.m after the Nine White Banners are fixed in a stand in the middle of the stadium which is followed by a speech by the President of Mongolia.
This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Naadam is different. For safety reasons, it was decided not to use the stadium in Ulaanbaatar.
Earlier today, the Nine White Banners were transported to the XIII Century Resort, 90 km from Ulaanbaatar, where the televised ceremony will be seen by the nation.
The Nine White Banners are almost a sacred representation of Mongolian nationhood. They are made of hairs from the tails of horses from every part of the country. In a special ger, outside the Ministry of Defence are the Black Banners, which are only used in a time of war.
Naadam is the most widely watched festival among the Mongols and It has its origin in the activities, such as military parades and sporting competitions such as archery, horse riding, and wrestling. The festival is a test of courage, strength, daring, horsemanship, and marksmanship, all necessary for nomadic people and warriors. The horse-racing is very much a coming of age event, involving young boys. Naadam later served as a way to train soldiers for battle; it is intrinsically connected to the Mongols’ nomadic lifestyle.