MONGOLIAN CUSTOMS

MONGOLIAN NAMES

      Like other aspects of oral cultural, the granting of  a name to a child carries an important symbolic character. The naming of children is usually done by the parents, but may also be done by a respected elder of the family. Once Buddhism became widespread in Mongolia, it became more common for lamas (the monk) to choose names for children, usually giving Tibetan name. In the twentieth century, under the Russian influence, Russian or Russianised name also became common.
        Nowadays most parents give Mongolian names to their children, typically name are made up of two nouns, lately became more one nouns objectives, representing qualities such as solidity and strength for boys, or beauty in the case of girls. Male names often include the names of elements such as iron or steel, or other denoting strength, such as "hero", "strong", or "axe": some examples are Gansukh (steel axe), Batsaikhan (Steady nice), or Tumurbaatar (Iron hero). Woman's names commonly refer ti fine color or flowers, the sun and moon, or may be made up of many other word with positive connotations using the feminine suffix-maa; some common examples are Altantsetseg (Golden flower), Narantuya (sun beam), Erdenetungalag (Jewel-clear). A large number of name-components can be either masculine of feminine, referring to auspicious qualities such as eternity or happiness; some examples are Munkh (Eternal), Erdene (jewel), Jargal or Bayar (happiness). Names of planets are also commonly used in giving names , as are the names of Tibetan saints or religious objects. For examples are: Dolgor (green Tara), Suren (means deity cames from Tibetan), Khorol (Buddhist items symbols ongoing doctrine of Buddha).
      There are also a tradition of giving names with unpleasant qualities (e.g, Muu nokhoi, or bad dog) to children born to a couple whose previous children have died, in the belief that unpleasant name will mislead evil spirits seeking to steal the child. Similar to this custom is that of referring to any infant child as "ugly" rather than as "cute", in the hopes of misleading the spirits. In general, however, the name of a child is associated with auspicious characteristics, as it is believed that the pronunciation of a name with good connotations will bring about the actualization of its symbolic characteristics.



UNDERSTANDING NOMADIC WAY OF LIFE





Traditional Mongolian life is based on herding of five types of animals: cattle (including yaks), sheep, goats, camels and horses. The products obtained from these animals satisfy nearly all of Mongolian family's basic needs: beef, mutton,8 and goat meat, supplemented by a wide variety of dairy products, constitute the Mongolian diet;sheep wool, processed into felt, is used to make clothing, bedding, and insulation for the ger; horses, camels and yaks provide transportation and animal hair and bones are even used to produce musical instruments, tightrope and children's toys. The domestication of animals and emergence of the nomadic lifestyle developed relatively late in Asian history, long after agricultural techniques had become established. In many respects nomadic herding is more complex activity then agricultural, for it requires the ability the domesticate animals, control their feeding and reproduction, and develop techniques for use of domestic animals products for food clothing, and shelter. Nomadism also demands a precise understanding of natural cycles and suitability of different areas for pasturage for each type of herd.
         Nomadic movements of Mongol herders are not conducted randomly, but according to precisely- defined traditions. Mongolian nomadic families move their animals into different general area of pasturage for each of the four season, referred to as uvuljuu( winter pasturage), khavarjaa (spring pasturage), zuslan (summer pasturage), and namarjaa (autumn pasturage). During the winter and spring the herds are generally kept in a fixed location to conserve their strength but its depends on where are you live. In the summer and autumn the family will move the herds several times within the larger area of pasturage, so as to give the animals more if a chance to fatten by grazing on fresh vegetation. In the warmer month the herding family leaves behind many of its possession, travelling in a smaller and lighter ger with minimal furniture. In forested-steppe regions, where precipitation is more abundant, families move between six and eight times a year, over an large distance of 15-20 kilometers; in mountains and dry steppe regions families mover farther and more frequently, traveling as for as 150 k in a single move. Nomadic patterns in the Gobi are more directly influenced by weather and location of springs, drought or extreme snowfall can force families to move great distance in search of adequate water and pasturage.
         For winter pasturage a shelter area is chosen, and animals are kept in a roofed enclosure with a insulating bed of dried dung. In the spring, as the animals are at their weakest, the family moves to a pasturage which both has early vegetation and is free of rocky, boggy, or slippery areas that might tax the animals strength. The herding family moves most frequently in the summer months, bringing the herds to open area with abundant vegetation. in autumn, as the animals must fatten in preparation for winter, the animals are taken to a quit location-far from roads or settlements-where they can graze in peace.
         Moving from one pasturage to next is considered an important and ceremonial event. Before moving, the head of the family dresses in his finest clothing and rides out at midday on his best horse to examine the new pasturage. Once he has chosen a suitable location he places three stone on the ground, symbolically in the form of hearth, to mark the future site of each of the family's gers.The family then chooses an auspicious fay for moving and begins to pack the household objects in advance of the move. The move  itself is subdued, as it is considered extremely unlucky for any argument or commotion to occur during the move or its preparation. On the moving day the family's gers are dismantled and all possession put into oxcarts, with the most valuable items-the hearth and roof flame, chest, religions icons, head of the household's personal objects-being placed in the head of cart. Families along the route followed by the movers invite the passersby in for tea; and upon setting up their home in its new location, the family welcome new neighbors.





MONGOLIAN TRADITIONAL GAME AND TOYS
 Traditional Mongolian life is based on herding of five types of animals: cattle (including yaks), sheep, goats, camels and horses. The products obtained from these animals satisfy nearly all of Mongolian family's basic needs: beef, mutton,8 and goat meat, supplemented by a wide variety of dairy products, constitute the Mongolian diet;sheep wool, processed into felt, is used to make clothing, bedding, and insulation for the ger; horses, camels and yaks provide transportation and animal hair and bones are even used to produce musical instruments, tightrope and children's toys. The domestication of animals and emergence of the nomadic lifestyle developed relatively late in Asian history, long after agricultural techniques had become established. In many respects nomadic herding is more complex activity then agricultural, for it requires the ability the domesticate animals, control their feeding and reproduction, and develop techniques for use of domestic animals products for food clothing, and shelter. Nomadism also demands a precise understanding of natural cycles and suitability of different areas for pasturage for each type of herd.
         Nomadic movements of Mongol herders are not conducted randomly, but according to precisely- defined traditions. Mongolian nomadic families move their animals into different general area of pasturage for each of the four season, referred to as uvuljuu( winter pasturage), khavarjaa (spring pasturage), zuslan (summer pasturage), and namarjaa (autumn pasturage). During the winter and spring the herds are generally kept in a fixed location to conserve their strength but its depends on where are you live. In the summer and autumn the family will move the herds several times within the larger area of pasturage, so as to give the animals more if a chance to fatten by grazing on fresh vegetation. In the warmer month the herding family leaves behind many of its possession, travelling in a smaller and lighter ger with minimal furniture. In forested-steppe regions, where precipitation is more abundant, families move between six and eight times a year, over an large distance of 15-20 kilometers; in mountains and dry steppe regions families mover farther and more frequently, traveling as for as 150 k in a single move. Nomadic patterns in the Gobi are more directly influenced by weather and location of springs, drought or extreme snowfall can force families to move great distance in search of adequate water and pasturage.
         For winter pasturage a shelter area is chosen, and animals are kept in a roofed enclosure with a insulating bed of dried dung. In the spring, as the animals are at their weakest, the family moves to a pasturage which both has early vegetation and is free of rocky, boggy, or slippery areas that might tax the animals strength. The herding family moves most frequently in the summer months, bringing the herds to open area with abundant vegetation. in autumn, as the animals must fatten in preparation for winter, the animals are taken to a quit location-far from roads or settlements-where they can graze in peace.
         Moving from one pasturage to next is considered an important and ceremonial event. Before moving, the head of the family dresses in his finest clothing and rides out at midday on his best horse to examine the new pasturage. Once he has chosen a suitable location he places three stone on the ground, symbolically in the form of hearth, to mark the future site of each of the family's gers.The family then chooses an auspicious fay for moving and begins to pack the household objects in advance of the move. The move  itself is subdued, as it is considered extremely unlucky for any argument or commotion to occur during the move or its preparation. On the moving day the family's gers are dismantled and all possession put into oxcarts, with the most valuable items-the hearth and roof flame, chest, religions icons, head of the household's personal objects-being placed in the head of cart. Families along the route followed by the movers invite the passersby in for tea; and upon setting up their home in its new location, the family welcome new neighbors.

OVOO
The ovoo (cairn) is a pile of pebbles, rock, branches, roughly conical, usually 2-3 diameters. When a passing ovoo, travelers should walk around it three times and place pebbles on it, to show respect for the spirit’s power symbolically. By adding pebbles he gives wind to his horse and receives good luck for his journey. If a traveler has nothing significant to offer the ovoo, he adds stones or dung, saying “more benefit is mine, a bigger ovoo is yours”. This is a bestowal of blessings and good luck wishes and expression of belief in the ovoo. The ovoo is also the site of several ceremonies during the year, in which families or clans celebrate in honor of the local spirits as well as father Heaven, Mother Earth and other shamanist spirits. Ovoo not only represent mountains, but by their upward pointing nature they also represent a point of closer contact between heaven and earth, just as a mountain top is considered closer Tenger and therefore spiritually powerful. Rainmaking rituals directly address Tenger, and are held at ovoo shrines dedicated to Tenger and the mountains spirits. Rural women should not climb sacred mountains but must pray at the mountain. Ovoos can also be direction markers for roads. According to their position, ovoo are called Steppe ovoo, Golden ovoo, stream ovoo, Guard ovoo, Mineral ovoo etc, all with different characteristics and reason for devotion.Guard ovoos are in border regions, and have a special role in protecting the country from attack. Mongolian sprinkle milk on the Mineral Ovoo if they suffer from an aliment, in the belief that the spirit dweling inside the ovoo can heal their problem. There are special rituals associated with erecting an ovoo. First of all a person selects an appropriate and attractive site and digs a hole. A vase containing a grain and pieces of nine precious items (gold, silver, coral, pearl, steel, copper, turquoise, lapis lazuli, mother-of pearl) are placed in the hole and covered, representing the wish to spread the nine precious items and make the people as abundant as grain. Then stones are piled around a pole, on which is tied a Khadag (blue silk scarf) and hair from a horse’s mane and tail.

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…

KHOOMII
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.