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Naadam festival kicks off in Mongolia amid COVID-19 pandemic

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-07-11 16:58
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Mongolia's "Three Games of Men" or national holiday of Naadam kicked off Saturday across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The opening ceremony of the Naadam festival usually takes place at the national sports stadium in the country's capital Ulan Bator.

However, the ceremony was held this year at the 13th Century Complex tourist camp, about 90 km east of the capital city, to avoid large crowds.

"The 'Three Games of Men' is the core of the nomadic culture, history, beliefs, customs and national mentality, and an important part of the spiritual immunity of the Mongolian state. It is gratifying to note that the Mongolian Naadam has already been recognized as a valuable heritage of human civilization and culture," Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga said at the opening ceremony.

During the event, hundreds of artists gave impressive performances, including folk dances, songs and music of all ethnic minorities of the country.

Inscribed in UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the official holiday is celebrated from July 11 to July 15. Naadam means "games" in the Mongolian language.

The most widely watched festival in Mongolia, it features horse racing, archery and wrestling. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, this year's festival will be broadcast live on television channels and social media.

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