Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Mongolian festival to sing about

Travel.reviewnews.org - Full Article

By Rebecca Byerly

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (CNN) — Standing slightly more than 4 feet tall, 9-year-old Tuguldur proudly stated the greatest challenge he faced in a horse race across the Mongolian plains in the country’s annual Naadam Festival was serenading his horse.

Young wrestlers cheer on teammates during the opening round at the Naadam Festival.

“The hardest part of the race was singing to my horse while riding,” said Tuguldur, wiping perspiration from the July sun off his face.

The long-distance horse race is exclusively for children, ranging in ages from 6 to 12. Riding up to 30 kilometers (19 miles), these children maneuver their galloping steeds on a thin saddle pad that often does not have stirrups.

“Mongolians believe they can communicate with their horses through singing, and their horse will go faster,” said Tamir, a senior at Mongolian University. “This is why the kids must keep singing during the race...”


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