Monday, March 21, 2011

MONGOLIAN GER (TRADITIONAL DWELLING FORM)

The Mongolian yurt called a ger, is ideally suited to the country’s sharply continental climate and the people’s nomadic way of life. This is a multipurpose dwelling which can be easily collapsed, transported to another place and put up again fully preserving its original shape. The yurt appeared centuries ago. Although it is believed that the collapsible yurt as we know it today was invented in the none-too-distant past. Being constantly on the military campaigns compelled the Mongols to build yurts on cart. Old books contain pictures of such yurts, temporary abodes in which families of three or four could spend the night or find shelter. History has preserved information about giant yurts built on wheeled platforms. The French monk William Rubruquis who visited Mongolia in the 13th century witnessed that distance between the wheels of such a platform was 20 feet (6.5m) and the yurt protruded at least five feet over each wheel. The platform was drawn by 22 oxen. Yurt of that where made for nobility. Soon, however, they fell out of use as the cart were clumsy and the yurts could not be hauled over long distance as there was the danger of getting stuck in the mud somewhere or tipping over. During campaigns the noblemen preferred to use big tents of bright and durable cloth. The Mongol’s earliest dwelling was, to all appearances, a so-called ebesun nembule, a kind of a grass shack. It is mentioned in the Secret History of the Mongols that Genghis khan’s forefather, Bodanchar, lived in such a shack. The development of craft, notably the processing of the wool into felt, brought forth a new-type dwelling, the yurt. The Mongolian yurt has two key components- the wooden framework and the felt cover. The wooden parts are walls, the long poles, the smoke escape and its supports. One wall consists of 10-15 wooden poles, each about 1,5 m high, bound together in a way making it possible to fold it for transportation and the unfold it like an accordion. The unfolded walls, which are connected to form a circle. The long poles are fastened to upper part of the walls, with the other end passed through the toono hole, the only window and smoke escape in the yurt. The toono is propped up by two posts, called bagana. All this forms the wooden framework of the yurt which resembles an open umbrella, as one foreigner put it. The framework thus built is covered with felt. The yurt is mounted on a wooden carpeted with felt. Sometimes the felt is laid directly on the ground. The door is always on the southern side facing the sun. the number of walls and poles determines the size of the yurt. Most of the time cattle-breeders yurts have five falls, which makes a living area of 16-18 sq.m. The above-mentioned yurts of noblemen in olden times had 10-20 walls. Today, yurts of this size accommodate clubs and libraries in the countryside, as well as cafes and bars in tourist’s centers.  In the centre of the yurt is the hearth which has a special meaning for the Mongols. Apart from its utilitarian purpose, the northern symbolizes ties with the ancestors. The Mongols say “aavyn golomt” (the parental hearth), instilling in these words the respect they have for their forefathers. One is not allowed to stretch out one’s legs towards the hearth, throw trash into it or bring sharp-pointed object close to the fire. Desecration of the hearth is a sin and an insult to the master of the house. The hearth is mounted on three stones which symbolize the host, the hostess and the hearth is centre of the yurt whose construction begins with its mounting. The hearth divides the yurt space into three conventional parts-the male and female quarters and the khoimor. The male quart are on the western side. Here the host keeps the saddle, the horse bridle and the koumiss bag. The female quarters are on the eastern side to the right of the entrance. The hostess keeps kitchenware and appliances here, as well as her and her children’s belongings. Accordingly, a man entering the yurt goes straight to its western part and a woman, to the eastern part. It is believed that the male quarters are under the protection of heaven and the female quarters are patronized by the sun. The most honored place is the khoimor by the northern wall across from the door. Here they keep objects dear to the master of the house, his weapons, and his morin khuur (a national musical instrument) and the host’s horse bridle. Pieces of furniture, usually tow wooden chests of a bright-orange color, are also placed in the khoimor. Framed photographs of the host and hostess, their children and relatives are put out on the some governmental award he is sure to hang it the khoimor. The host is usually seated on the eastern side of the khoimor and guest on the western side. The hostess place is by the hearth and the children are supposed to sit near her but closer to the door. The bed of the host and the hostess is in the female quarters; those for guests are on the opposite side. The children are put to sleep at their parents’ feet. Speaking about the yurt design, let’s dwell at length on the functions of the smoke escape (toono) and its props (bagana). The point is that some of the Mongols’ philosophical ideas are associated with them. The smoke escape is the only opening through which light penetrates the yurt. An old legend has it that it was through such a hole that a fair-haired man got into the yurt of Alan-gua, the Mongol’s ancestral mother, and begot three sons. In olden days people could tell the time by the sun’s rays falling on the cross-pieces of the smoke escape and on the poles. The Mongols divided the day into twelve hours and each hour into twelve minutes which they called by the names of the lunar calendar animals. A hair rope, chagtaga, is fastened to the smoke escape from which a weight stabilizing the yurt is suspended during strong winds. In new yurt, they fasten a khadag to it, a piece of blue silk in which a handful of grain is wrapped. The symbolism of this ritual can be summed up like this : “May happiness multiply in this new yurt like grains of corn and may life be pure and beautiful here”. The supports (bagana) ensure the stability of the yurt and that is probably why tradition forbids touching, left alone leaning against them. Moreover, they symbolize a link with heaven, with the past-present-future axis supposedly passing through them. In winter the hearth heats the yurt and also serves as a stove for cooking. In wooded areas the hearth is stocked with firewood while in the steppe and the Gobi dry dung briquettes are used. The yurt warms up quickly and holds in the heat. In the summer heat the lower part of the felt cover, the so-called khormoi, is raised to let fresh air in. The yurt, round-shaped and squat, can withstand winds while the quick-drying felt is good protection against the rain and snow. In the towns and urban-type settlements yurts are being ousted by modern well-built housing. Young Mongols prefer to live in comfortable flats. In summer, however, urban dwellers often spend their vacations in yurt, leaving the urban conveniences for a short while to enjoy the unmatched comfort of the yurt. 

WHAT”S OFFEND IN COUNTRYSIDE


Mongolians have unique customs and traditions that date back centuries. Please observe that Mongolian is really auspicious country, so every guest’s effort to follow those rules and customs. Please welcome, those are:
 §  If you are roll up your sleeves in a ger it means that you are ready to fight your host.
 §  If your host wishes you well, a suitable reply is to wish that their sheep fatten or that their horses may grow stronger.
 §  To whistle in the ger or lean against an upright is very bad luck.
 §  A guest should tell the host where he is form why; the host would consider it rude if the information were not freely given.
 §  Men traditionally offer snuff; it is refuse.
 §  Breaking the earth’s slumber (ploughing, digging soil) is supposed to be very unlucky.
 §  Do not shake your hands with your gloves on, even if its minus 50 degrees.
 §  Always move around the stove clockwise.
 §  Bowls will be offered with the right hand or both; receive them in the same way.
 §  Squat or kneel; if you are given a stool, tuck your feet beneath you, not straight out.
 §  Before entering, cough or make some noise to warn host that you are no evil intensions.
 §  When visiting to pass on a gift or parcel, do not put it down on the floor; put it somewhere higher place. On the table or on the altar which is a sigh of respect for the host.
 §  Wait your host to show you to your seat. Mongolians observe a strict seating plan in the ger. The northern end is where the hosts sits; the eastern side is for hostess western side is for guests.
 §  If your trip over the threshold when entering, just wish plenty of profit. But you trip up when you are leaving premises, you should come back to in and leave the place again, or the occupants may suffer loss.
 §  No one should pass in front of a pregnant woman, to do so may show disrespect to the future possibly important person, no one knows what positions the baby will occupy when an adult. Mongolians offer great respect to future unborn citizens.
 §  When passing over a knife or scissors, try to give them with the handle towards the recipient. This means you are not threatening them, and you trust them.
 §  The hunter never enters the ger with gun but leaves it outside on the ger.
 §  Don’t sparkle water on the stove or fire. It is believed that this could harm the spirit of fire living there.
 §  In a show of deep respect, Mongolians may welcome you with a long khadag (blue silk scarf)and a silver cup of milk. You do not have to drink all the milk. It is only polite to at least taste it or touch your lips to cup before passing it to your neighbor.
 §  In a totally opposite way to western customs, when you enter a ger, keep hat on your head as a sigh of respect. You will find that your host, especially in the countryside, will put his hat on to welcome you.
 §  Don’t lick clean the cup of tea or airag
 §  Never shout at or beat a horse. The horse is considered man’s best friend. 

TRADITIONAL THERAPIES


Dear readers,
Here, i have published traditional therapies, but never recommended to try out those therapies into live.For some individual those are bring its benefits or for some individuals isn't efficient. Please read and pass out the URL.
All over the world, since time began and people fell ill, the various cultural have used natural remedies for those illnesses. Some so-called cures stem from superstition, some from religion and others from colorful stories passed down through the generations.  These Mongolians remedies are from Buddhist surtas and other texts and are still widely used many Mongolians.
§  Sty: touch the troubled eye with the opposite knee, seven times.
§  Aching teeth: put a drop of animal urine on the sore tooth.
§  Infant pneumonia: wrap the chest of the child in a vodka-soaked bandage.
§  Woman with crick in the neck: kneel before a handsome man, bow your head to his knee; pain will be gone with 24 hours.
§  Sore eyes and ears: place one drop of animal urine on the sore eye/ ear.
§  Nervous tic: collect dried animal bones from the open steppe and boil them, then place in a bath; bathe in this mixture daily for seven days.
§  Scars: lightly rub a drop of animal or human urine on scar several days running.
§  TB: drink copious qualities of airag from a white mare.
§  Babies not sleeping at night: put large salt crystals into the fire. When they sizzle, hang the child over the coals (if this sounds a bit dangerous, try making the middle of body’s forehead with black ash from the bottom of saucepan)
§  Fever: drink half of a cup of warm urine from a reddish-brown cow.
§  Warts: tie red cotton thread around the wart then carefully remove the thread and hang it on hinge of a door; after a few days, the wart will disappear.
§  Insanity: drink half cup of warm urine, preferable from a fox. Or try slaughtering an owl, falcon, bear, tiger, wolf, fox or lynx; boil the meat and eat immediately. Another way is cut someone’s armpit hair ( or hair from under bear’s tail), then burn it; mix the ash with water and drink it.
§  Dog bite: take some hair from the dog, burn it then place it on the wound.
§  Big warts: rub with a dirty old animal bone.
§  Sore throat: suck on a copper rod for two or three days.
§  Diabetes: warm a small piece of copper to reddish color; crush it to powder than swallow it.
§  Mercury poisoning: drink half cup of warm urine from a cow or horse.
§  Mouth ulcers: warm an uncle’s horse bridle and rub it inside the mouth.
§  Bowing knee or ankle: bath in strong salty tea. 

KHOOMII-Throat singing




Khoomii is a traditional form of song which comes from deep in the throat. It is most extraordinary in that a well-trained voice can produce two or even threenotes simultaneously. Khoomii in Mongolian literally means pharynx, and is sung only man.
Mongol khoomii needs a guttural voice and a very special way of breathing, using the throat as an instrument rather than a way of singing, hence it is sometimes also called throat singing. The best khoomii performers come from certain areas with a tradition of the art. They include especially Khovd aimag where a large number of the best-known khoomii performers were born.
When being sung, one note comes out as a fluting, whistle like sound, the result of locked breath in the chest being forced out through the throat in special way, while at the same a bass note seems to come from deep in the stomach. The various type of note in khoomii depend on the direction of air breathed out. Some types are:
Kharkhiraa khoomii: under strong pressure of the throat, air is breathed out, producing a bass sound.
Bagalzuryn (laryngeal) khoomii: locked breath is exhaled, squeezed from the larynx.
Tagnainy (palantie) khoomii: locked breath is exhaled while squeezed through the palate.
Hoolian (guttural) khoomii: locked breath is exhaled past the end of the tongue.
Hamryn (nasal) khoomii: locked breath is let out through the nose. 

COAXING CAMELS


If a camel rejects heir calf, she stops eating and drinking, gets depressed and becomes ill- tempered. She leaves the herd to stand alone, looking into distance and back again, and bellows repeatedly.
Sometimes, too, mother dies in birth, leaving a baby camel which needs to suckle. Since the herd is economic base of his life, the herder has to react, to try save the situation, to reunite the mother and her offspring, r to persuade another nursing mother to accept the forlorn calf. An unique method is used by Mongolian herders; they play music! Using the flute or horse head fiddle, with a special song, they serenade the camel mother and the reluctant dam starts to weep large tears before accepting her own or another camel’s calf.
The herder sings:
“Why are you rejects your beautiful little offspring?
Your offspring weeps when it gets up in morning.
Please let it suckle your tasty milk”
HOOS,HOOS,HOOS…