Hulunbuir Festivals and Events
Boasting the most plentiful and excellent pastures in China, Hulunbuir is also the home to 42 ethnic minorities including Han, Mongolian, Hui, Manchu and Korean. The ethnic minorities have own traditional festivals which including unique ceremony and some interesting activities, tourists will have the chance to experience the most authentic local food and life on the land while appreciating the picturesque landscape.
Festivals in Hulunbuir
Besides some Chinese traditional festivals, like New Year's Day(January 1), Spring Festival(The first day of the first lunar month; February 5, 2019), Lantern Festival(The fifteenth day of the first lunar month), Tomb Sweeping Day(15 days after the Spring equinox; April 5, 2019), Dragon Boat Festival(The fifth day of the fifth lunar month; June 7, 2019) and Mid-Autumn Day(The fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month; September 13, 2019), Hulunbuir also hold unique ethnic minority festivals and cultural activities.
Nadam Festival or Nadam Fair(那达慕大会)
Nadam Festival, held throughout the region annually in midsummer, is the biggest traditional Mongolian festival, and also, it is the only one of its kind to express the nomadic culture with traditional ethnic performances, equestrian shows and competition. Nadam means entertainment or recreation in Mongolian, besides the core of the festival – three manly sports – the wrestling, horseracing and archery, it also embraces many elements of arts, such as singing, dancing and performing. Nowadays, women have started participating in the archery and girls in the horse-racing games, but not in Mongolian wrestling. Midsummer is the best time for travelling to Inner Mongolia and places around, tourists must not miss the Nadam Fair, it is a good opportunity to experience the nomadic culture and the local food.
Aobao Festival, also known as Aobao Meeting, often takes place from May to August, when the grassland is carpeted with lush grass and inter-weaved with dazzling wild blossoms. The festival is a traditional worshipping festival in Inner Mongolia when people pray for good weather and safety for both humans and livestock. After the Aobao Worship Ceremony (Ji Ao Bao, 祭敖包) is finished, comes the activities such as wrestling, singing and dancing, therefore Aobao Worship Ceremony is also the forerunner of the renowned Nadam Festival.
Yi Mu'er Festival(伊慕额节)
Besides Nadam Festival and Aobao Meeting which are the famous ethnic celebrations on Hulunbuir grassland, there is also an interesting folk festival held in the early spring, that is Yi Mu'er(means harvest in Mongolian) Festival, which falls on May 22, is a festival for harvest as its name tells. On that day, men and women, old and young, walk out their yurts to the prairie, start the "registration" to their livestock, they tie colorful pieces from Mongolian robes onto the ears of the goats, mark the left ears of the ewes, castrate the rams and stamp on the leg of horses, through those operations the herdsman knows the overall harvest conditions of the livestock. Then comes the celebration, a reward will be given given to the model worker with best harvest, and there will be activities such as traditional wrestling and horse racing.
Mi Kuolu Festival(米阔鲁节)
Mi Kuolu Festival is another harvest festival celebrated by the Ewenki nationality live along the Mo Ri Gele River (莫日格勒河) region. It falls in late May, and is celebrated much the same as the Yi Mu'er Festival in forms and contents, the only difference is that a feast should be offered by the host to the people who helped with operations done to the livestock. There will also be wrestling and horse racing competitions.
Sebin Festival (瑟宾节)
The annual Sebin Festival is a traditional festival of Ewenki people, who follow the tradition to worship their ancestor, hold horse race and wrestling match. Sebin means "happiness and peace" in the Ewenki language, the festival is celebrated on June 18 every year in the Ewenki Autonomous Banner of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. On that day, everyone living in the tribe would attend, and the tribal chief will lead the celebration, the hunters lit bonfires on larches, then dance and sing around the bonfire, making sacrifices to the god of mountains, and finally there will be a big dinner.
Bonfire Festival (篝火节)
On June 18 every year, Oroqen people welcomes their traditional Bonfire Festival, all the Oroqen people lit bonfires, singing and dancing, celebrating their national festivals. The annual bonfire festival becomes the only national traditional festival of Oroqen people. On that day, the Oroqen people, men and women, old and young, put on their festival clothes and dress up well then gather at the bonfire square to celebrate their big day. Bonfire Festival activities are divided into three parts including opening ceremony, traditional sports competitions and bonfire entertainment party. The Sports competition consists of horse racing, shooting, archery, wrestling, wrist wrestling, neck rope race, rowing birch boat race, collecting and etc.
Activities in Hulunbuir
Try Horse Riding
As for the tour on the grassland, horse racing is definitely the most attractive and exciting part to tourists, especially when you travel to Hulunbuir which boasts the finest grassland. Tourists can enjoy the horse racing at the Nadam Festival, Yi mu'er Festival, Mi Kuolu Festival and Bonfire Festival. When you travel to the grassland, of course you must try horse riding on the vast green land, not just watching others racing. Horse riding is the must-do for almost every tourist to Hulunbuir.
Enjoy Horseback Archery
Horseback archery, once an important survival skill, is a traditional sports activity of the Mongols. Now it is part of cultures throughout the world, and its varying competitive formats reflect every culture’s traditions. The competition is also held at the Aobao Festival(敖包会), Nadam Festival(那达慕大会) and Bonfire Festival , everyone could participate in the competition, and each participant shall get his or her own bow, 9 arrows and horse ready before the competition. The 9 arrows will be shot in three rounds. It is suggested that you should try it when you attend the festivals, you will find it changing your courage, balancing skills and you will see how skillful the Mongolian on the horseback is.
Appreciate the Icy World
If you travel to Hulunbuir in winter, you will enjoy an amazing world of ice and snow, ice sculpture is the most popular one, exquisitely carved in various forms, vivid and shining in white light. Colored lantern is another decoration to the Hulunbuir in winter, lanterns of different shaped in various colors dazzle your eyes, meanwhile contributing a warm atmosphere.
Join in Winter Fishing
Besides the ice sculpture and colorful lanterns, traveling to Hulunbuir in winter will give you another chance to experience winter fishing. People in Hulunbuir follow the winter fishing tradition to ensure the sound development of fishery. The golden time for winter fishing is from late December to the days before Chinese lunar new year. There is a sacrifice ceremony to the lakes before starting fishing. To catch the fish, local fisherman should use tools to dip into the frozen lake surface, forming an opening for putting in the fishing net. The temperature is about 30 degree below zero, the fishes are frozen suddenly as they are taken out from the water. After the fishing work is completed, the biggest fish will be auctioned off, and for most people, it is a good time to have the first bite of the fresh fishes.
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