• Almost ¼ of the population is nomadic.
• Nomads move seasonally searching for optimal pasture and water for their livestock. Moves typically occur at least four times a year covering an average distance of around 50-200 km.
• Mongolia has an immense richness in livestock; the five species of animals are sheep, goats, camels, horses, and cattle. Nomad lifestyle is closely connected to nature and the animals which produce milk, meat, hides, wool and quality cashmere as well as transportation.
• Horses are one of the most important animals for nomads. They are semi-wild naturally, so they have to be broken by skilled horsemen.
• Nomads live in the Mongolian Ger, a circular felt-covered dwelling, still used by the majority of Mongolians .The Ger is ideally suited to the extreme weather conditions of the country and the nomadic lifestyle.
• Gers can easily be assembled and dismantled with 1 hour and transported from one place to another and put up again.
• Today a large portion of Mongolia's population lives in Gers, even in Ulaanbaatar city.
• There are many unique traditions and customs related to nomadic culture. Here you can see some of them:
• The Airag Feast, a festival of horses and a symbol of plentiful food, is an important part of Mongolian custom. Airag is fermented mare’s milk and is the favorite thirst-quencher for Mongolian people.
• A family that hosts the Airag Feast chooses a fine sunny day for the beginning of Airag season and prepares food and other necessary things for the feast.
• The Airag Feast can be made on the day of catching the mares or after the fermenting of the mare’s milk, depending on the region and people’s customs.
• On the Feast Day neighboring families gather and bring with them their diary products such as distilled Mongolian milk vodka, cheese, dried curd and other homemade products.
• After several customs are completed the feast starts at the ‘field of horses’ where plentiful milk products and boiled meat are placed on the table. During the Airag Feast a blessing is made for good luck, for nature, and for the wellbeing of the local people.
Making felt, carpet and the covering of Ger:
• Felt is one of the two main components of the Mongolian traditional dwelling know as the Ger. There is a custom for making high quality and long lasting felt.
• Felt making is a Mongolian traditional craft and forms part of Mongolian Culture. Felt is made in autumn by processing sheep’s wool. A good day is chosen and neighboring families and relatives are informed about the festive work.
• Felt makers choose the best location with fine grass, and select the best quality wool. The next stage involves rolling and tightly wrapping a cow hide around the wool. It is then dragged by horse along the ground about 15-20 km for a full day.
• After felt is completed, locals celebrate with milk tea and abundant diary products like curds, cheese, clotted cream, pastries, distilled vodka, fermented mare’s milk and boiled mutton.
Compelling a Camel to Weep:
• In the Gobi area in Mongolia, female camels sometimes reject their offspring. If the two cannot be reunited, the baby camel may starve without its mother’s milk.
• Specialized lyrical singing is used to persuade the mother to reaccept her baby.
• Singing is performed at dawn and dusk, quietly and in a way that mimicks the sounds of a camel. Flutes and/or horse-head fiddles are used for accompaniment.
• After listening to the song, tears appear in the female camel’s eyes and she is compelled to accept her offspring.
• If the ritual does not work, other females can sometimes be compelled to accept the orphaned camel by using the same process.