Mongolia is shifting its centuries-old festival online due to coronavirus for the second year. Rather than subject the population to an outright cancellation of Naadam, the government has taken the creative decision of moving this ancient festival online. Therefore, the core competitions such as horse racing, archery and wrestling will be held without a live audience. The government has also banned mini-Naadam festivals which normally continue through July and August nationwide in 360 soums and all 21 provinces.
Originally, the government approved a budget of MNT 10 billion for organising Naadam Festival this year; however, it will be economized as shifting to online. The money saved from the Naadam Festival will be used for fighting Covid-19.
This year, Naadam Festival commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Mongolian People’s Revolution.
The second largest festival and sports competition of the year is Mongolian New Year or Tsagaan Sar. It was completely cancelled back in February, for the second time in centuries.
The first official Naadam was held in 1206, the Year of the Tiger, when Temujin, the man who the world would come to know as Genghis Khan, inaugurated the largest celebration that had ever taken place on the Mongolian steppes. According to Jack Weatherford, author of “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World”, the Great Khan called together hundreds of thousands of soldiers, wrestlers, archers, horse racers, women, families, and camp followers for several days of celebration and sports competition.