Tsagaan Sar or White Month is one of Mongolia's two major and long-awaited holidays, the other being Naadam in July. For Mongols, Tsagaan Sar is not only an ancient holiday marking the end of winter and the beginning of a new year's cycle, but is also a time for unification and reinforcing social bonds. Preparations for the festive start well ahead of time. Several families usually gather in the eldest man's ger, where the holiday will take place.
To mark the festival, Mongolians purge their bodies and minds of all that is bad and start their lives afresh. They express respect to their elders, relatives and friends, reconfirming their social bonds. Families gather together, to celebrate and eat traditional food such as buuz (meat dumplings), uuts (grilled sheep’s tail), Ul boov (pastry), yaks milk and rice.
The Naadam festival is the biggest and most joyful celebration for Mongolians. It takes place on the 11-12th of July each year. The festival originated from the era of Khunnu Empire and was originally organized as a competition to test the skills of Mongolian Warriors of different tribes. The festival comprises the "Three Manly Sports": wrestling, horse racing and archery. A fascinating and interesting event for all is where the 9 White Flags of Chinghis Khan are carried in a ceremonial parade from the State Parliament House to the Central Stadium. 512-1024 wrestlers compete on the green field of the State Central Stadium-there is no time limit, no weight category. There are 6 different categories of horse racing depending on the age of horses. Archery, originating from time immemorial, is the oldest sport of the Mongols. Traditionally, this was only men's sport but nowadays both men and women compete in separate divisions.