Nadam Fair of the Mongolian in Inner Mongolia

The “Nadam Fair,” originating from Mongolia, translates to “entertainment” or “recreation.” It dates back to the 13th century, initially serving as a monthly gathering known as “Huli Letai” led by Mongolian leaders. The Nadam Fair included various activities such as legislative discussions, administrative appointments, and awards ceremonies, alongside traditional sports like wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Over time, the fair evolved, with its format and content changing significantly after the Qing Dynasty. In contemporary times, Nadam is typically held annually during the golden autumn or summer seasons, lasting for three to seven days. Participants, dressed in new national attire, converge from different areas, showcasing a joyous atmosphere with horse riding, yurt setup, and communal feasting.

The “Three Skills of Men” – wrestling, horse racing, and archery – have been integral to Mongolian culture since ancient times, serving as essential skills for men and benchmarks of capability. These skills are not only central to the Nadam Fair but are also practiced on various occasions such as during leisure time, weddings, and festivals. Mongolian wrestling stands apart from Chinese and Japanese wrestling, with distinct rules, methods, attire, and fields. Matches involve respectful handshakes before commencing, with victory determined by making an opponent’s body parts above the knees touch the ground. Horse racing encompasses walking and galloping races, each emphasizing different horse attributes and rider skills. Traditional horse racing is accompanied by vibrant attire and spirited encouragement from spectators. Archery competitions, both static and mounted, allow participants to freely select arrows and aim at targets either while standing or riding.

These mass sports activities, including wrestling, horse racing, and archery, play vital roles in physical training and enriching cultural life among Mongolian communities. Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have nurtured numerous outstanding athletes, achieving success in national and international competitions and bringing honor to the Chinese nation.