What is a Ger? And other Mongolian cultural traditions

Information compiled by Mrs.Bayarmaa.



What is a Ger?

A ger is round, cone-shaped tent. A ger has only one door and no windows. But it has a small opening at the top, called a 'toono'' which allows smoke to go out of the stove's chimney. It is made out of boards with a wool covering so that it is easy to put up and to take down.


How to build a ger? Need:

-One stove
-One door


  1. First, you need to find a nice place that is flat and with good dry soil.
  2. Next, build the floor by using the flat boards that are made for a ger on the ground.
  3. In the middle there is a hole to put the stove in. Sometimes, during the summer time, you don't need to put the floor boards down.
  4. Now, for the wall, you will use a criss-crossed structure that will easily stretch around the ger. Once that is up, the ger's main figure is up. Make sure the door is facing the south.
  5. Next, you will put in the roof. The roof needs between 50-70 poles. You will have to connect the poles from the wall to the centre piece of the roof.
  6. Lastly, you need to put the wool felt over the ger. If it is really cold, you may need to put extra wool felt on the ger or if it is raining you will need to close the smoke hole. Congratulations! You are done.





A Del is a Mongolian's traditional dress. It is a long dress with a sash round the waist and is worn by both men and women. During the summer, people wear dels made out of silk or cotton. In the winter, they are made out of wool with fur lined inside it. They are really warm! People living in the countryside wear dels more often than people in the city. People in the city only wear dels for special holidays and celebrations. Does your country have a traditional dress? Do you want a del? How do you begin making a del?

First, you need to see how much material you need to buy by taking your measurements. Then, buy the appropriate material depending on if you need a winter or summer del. You also need lining, buttons and material for the border.Now follow these instructions.

  • Measurements; Take measures from the neck, chest, back, shoulders, arms as well as the whole body length.
  • Cutting the material. The length of the body and the sleeves should be added and then sew them together.
  • Bordering the del; In order not to smash the material for border, you might need extra lining for the border. The material for border should match with the color of the del. You can border the del with two or three lines.
  • Sewing del; Sew the lining and the main material of the del after ironing them. Next, you add the sleeves.
  • Collar; Collar should be cut according to the neck measure. It can be any shapes, such as square and round. The length of the collar depends on the length of the neck.
  • Now, you can stick the buttons which can be even handmade.



Cultural facts of Mongolia for children

Since their early childhood, Mongolian children are taught what to do or what not to do that shows respect to their parents, people, possessions and to nature. Here are some things which children are taught at an early age.


- lean against a support column of a ger. Because it may cause bad luck.

- whistle inside a ger because it may cause nature disaster, such as heavy rain and strond wind.

- put any trash or even water in the fire because fire is sacred.

- walk in front of older people.

- take food from another person's plate with your left hand.

- touch other people's hats.

- point a knife at any person

- walk over a lasso pole

- spill any milk, because milk and milk products are considered holy.

- receive things with one hand such gifts and foods.


Immediately shake a person's hand if you accidently step on his/her foot so they know you did not mean it.did not mean it.

Traditional Mongolian Children's Activities





Mongolians love wrestling and horse riding and they are major events at the Naadam Festival. While growing up, boys spend much of their time wrestling with one another, especially in the countryside. Mongolian wrestling is similar to a wrestling found elsewhere, except there are no weight divisions, so basically, the biggest and the strongest are often the best. Mongolian wrestling also has no time limit. Except for short breaks, the wrestler wins when his component falls on the ground. Naadam winners are given specific titles according to how many matches they won. For example: Five matches, they are a Falcon, seven matches, they are an Elephant and all the matches, they are a Lion.

Good Luck boys. Be confident that you have power to win. And Always remember, besides strenght, you definetely need wisdom to win your component.


What do Mongolian wrestlers wear in competition?

Wrestling uniforms - Zodog Shuudag

Wrestlers wear only a pair of briefs and a very tight jacket which covers only the shoulders and arms.

Traditionally, it's said that the wrestling costumes were open in front of the chest. It is an interesting legend that says why the Zodog now is open in its front side. A long time ago, there was a strong famous wrestler who won many aimag's (provinces) naadam but after some time, people found out that the winner was a woman. So, since that time, the Zodog became open.



Horse Riding

Mongolians learn to ride horses at an early age so they can help their family with the chores. Earlier you learned that Mongolians are nomadic people. They move around a lot in order to take care of their animals. For example, the boys help herd the goats, sheep, cows and horses. The girls help their mothers milk the cows and mares to make diary products. So if you can ride a horse, it would be more fun and easier to feed the animals rather than doing it on foot. So let's learn how Mongolians ride a horse.

A. Always mount on the left side of a horse.

B. Use a whip made of very hard wood to make your horse go fast.

C. Stand on the stirrups while the horse is galloping so the ride is not very bumpy.

D. Say 'Choo' whenever you start making horse go.

- Later, when the children are about 6 years old, they learn how to saddle and harness the horse.

- By the time they are 16 years old, they are very good riders. They then learn how to tame wild horses. Skillful horse riders sometimes don't even use a saddle. During the Naadam Festival, the horse races are one of the most favourite events. Boys and girls between 5-13 years of age compete in their race horses. They take months to prepare for the race, by practising and feeding the horses a special diet. (a picture of a boy ridin a race horse)

The harness of a horse consists of the following items. Such as:

- Saddle,

- saddle bow,

- stirrups,

- saddle-girth,

- dridle,

- bridle and halter.

Usually, the all the items except the halter and the bridle are engaged with the saddle.

There are normally six categories of horse racing, depending on the age of horses.

Up to two year old- called Daaga in Mongolian, three, four, five, six, and stallion. (a picture of harness)


Traditional Mongolian Children's story


Mongolian children are fond of having their mothers to tell them folk stories tales, and myths. The following story is one of the most famous myths found in the 'Mongolia's Secret Book'. This myth helps children to understand the importance of friendship among brothers and sisters.

A mother had her five sons sit by her because they were argueing among one another. She gave them each an arrow and told them to break it. The boys easily broke the one given to them. After that, the mother gathered the five arrows together and had the boys try to break them. One by one, the boys tried to break the cluster of arrow but were not able to. The mother then said " You all have the same mother, just like you were able to easily break one arrow, if you go separately, you do will be defeated. But like the cluster of arrows, if you are together, you will not easily be defeated".


My Native Land

There is not one child in secondary school who has not memorised the following poem. Mongolia's most respected poet, playwright and author is D. Natsagdorj (1906-1937). His most famous poem 'My Native Land', perfectly sums up the beauty of the Mongolian countryside.


The crystal rivers of sacred Kherlen, Onon and Tuul,

Brooks, streams, and springs that bring health to all my people,

The blue lakes of Khovsgol, Uvs and Buir-deep and wide,

Rivers and lakes where people and cattle quench their thirst;

This, this is my native land,

The lovely country-my Mongolia.

The land of pure grasses waving in the breeze,

The land of open planning full of fantastic mirages,

Firm rocks and out-of-reach places where good men used to meet,

And the ancient ovoos-the standing stones to gods and ancestors;

This, this is my native land,

The lovely country-my Mongolia.

Land where in winter all is covered with snow and ice,

And the grasses twinkle like glass and crystal,

Land where in summer all is carpet of flowers,

And full of songbirds from the distant lands to the south;

This, this is my native land,

The lovely country-my Mongolia.



Traditional Mongolian Games and Puzzles



The puzzle is designed for developing a logical mind and observation.

The object of the game is to take the movable loop out from the whole chain and then, place it back at its initial position.

While playing with the puzzle one should avoid twisting and distorting the wire.

Mongolian children for hundreds of years have played many different games by using the ancle bones of sheep and goats. Here are a few of the games they play.

- Need at least 20 ancle bones

- 2 to 6 playersObject: to get all the ancle bones. Each side of the bone represent different animals; Sheep, goat, horse, and camel. (pictures of these four)

A. The first player gathers all the ancle bones and throws them on a flat surface.

B. The player then looks for pairs of matching bones. Eg: Camel - camel, goat - goat, sheep - sheep, and horse - horse and flicks one of the matching bone to hit the other matching bone. If they touch any other bone, then you lose your turn.

C. If you hit it, then you pick up one of the two bones that has ben just hit and keep trying to get as many bones as possible. If you miss, then you lose your turn and the next player picks all the remaining bones up and throws them to play his turn.

D. The game continues to play until one person has all the bones.


Who has the most horses?

- Need at least 20 bones

- 2 to 6 players

Object: To get the most 'Horses' bones.

A. The first player throws all the ancle bones on a flat surface.

B. And picks all the horses from the file.

C. After he picked all the horses without touching any other animal bones, now it is your turn.

D. The next player will pick all the ancle bones and throw them and pick all the 'Horses' out of the pile.

E. Each player is given a turn until all the bones are picked up. The person with the most bones is the winner.




* Copyright Notice

This text is taken from Ger Magazine- before published on the internet, but currently onavailable. As these articles have been of help to many, we have provided them online here.
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