3. EVENTS, HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

GOLDEN EAGLE - FESTIVAL

Organizer: Nomadic expeditions Co.Ltd
Date: 27th September- 5th October of 2016
Venue: Bugat Soum (8km east of Ulgii), Bayan-Ulgii aimag
Ticket price: 40 USD, not including transportation

Annual Golden Eagle Festival has been the largest gathering of eagle hunters and their eagles in the world since it started in 1999 with 70 eagle hunters participating in this event. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Event. Bayan-Ulgii province is the highest Altai mountain range of Mongolia, where Mongolian one of the minority group Kazakh people live nearby. Each year Kazakh hunters from near and far attend the festival with their strongest Golden Eagles, known as Berkut, to compete by testing speed, agility, and accuracy.


Programs:

  • Start of the festival with display of eagles and hunters and demonstrating their talents
  • The eagle catching fox skin dragged behind a horse, returning to their owner from a distance on command
  • Camel race
  • Kazakh games of Tiyn Teru (a race to pick up a coin on the ground while on horseback)
  • Kyz Kuar (“girl chase,” a man and woman race on horseback while the woman whips the man)
  • Kukbar (tug of war over a goat carcass while on horseback)
  • Concert of traditional Kazakh music at the theater
  • Awards to the winners of each contest, for best dressed man, woman, and child
  • Live hunt of a fox or cub wolf by the winning eagle
  • Traditional Kazakh craft work and foods
  • Dance performances, a parade in the provincial capital’s city square, and a Kazakh play in honor of the hunters and their eagles
  • Visiting the local History Museum, craftwork, and a Kazakh family to experience the their lifestyle, traditions
  • Visiting a local mosque and the town market