Some Mongolian Customs

The following list of Mongolian customs are compiled with the help of our friends: Nara, Ugi, Usukh, Tsagaantsooj, Uyangaa, and Priscilla. Thanks guys, and we miss you!!!

Ovoos are mounds of stones and wood found on hilltops in the Mongolian countryside. It is customary to circle clockwise around ovoos three times, adding rocks onto the heap, while thinking of your wishes. Small offerings of food, money, or vodka are left on the pile, and blue scarves called khadags are tied around protruding sticks, to pay respect to the sky gods and spirits of ancestors.

If you see a crow before noon it is considered lucky, because the crow is delivering God’s good news. However, if you see a crow after noon, it is delivering bad news from evil spirits. If you see a crow after noon you say, “Bring us good news, take away bad news. Crow, you live 300 years, and have 3 white eggs.”

It is custom to serve milk tea to visitors immediately upon arrival. The visitor should accept the tea with their right hand, or with both hands, and never with the left hand alone.

You mustn’t step on the threshold when visiting a Mongolian house or ger. You also shouldn’t touch the door frame with both hands as you pass. It has something to do with carrying out the dead.

Mongolians did not celebrate their birthdays before the Mongolian People’s Revolution in the 1920’s. The Russians came in then and started the whole birthday celebration thing.

Nudging people out of the way is common and socially acceptable, BUT if you accidentally step on or bump someone else’s foot, you must immediately shake his/ her hand, with your right hand, or he/ she will be deeply offended!

If you trip when leaving a Mongolian house or ger you come back inside, and make a fire to prevent losing wealth. However if you trip when entering a Mongolian house or ger you will gain some wealth.

Mongolians sprinkle milk or vodka as an offering to the gods of the sky before a long journey.

Mongolians believe that they come from the union of the wolf and the deer. The wolf represents the man, and the deer, the woman. It is very good luck to see or kill a wolf.

The numbers 6 and especially 7 are unlucky numbers. Lucky numbers are 8 and 9.

Mongols wish upon, and take energy from the full moon. If the full moon falls on the 9th day in the lunar calendar, you can wish for anything.

When you are giving a gift, money, or anything of value to Mongolians hand it over as if it is precious, and treating the recipient with honor. If you are giving or receiving a gift, do so standing and present/receive with both hands. Never toss or be flippant with anything of value to a Mongolian. Even if you are paying someone back, you must never toss money.

Most Mongolians do not celebrate Christmas, but they do incorporate elements of Christmas, into their New Year’s festivities. For example, one week before the New Year, Mongolians put out a New Year’s tree, which looks and is decorated like a Christmas tree. Winter Grandfather, who resembles an older (if that’s possible) version of Santa, dressed all in white, accompanied by Snow Girl, gives out presents to children, for New Year celebrations.

***If you are familiar with Mongolian customs, and would like to elaborate, or correct some of our entries, please feel free to add your comments below. We would like to make this a growing list!***

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3 Responses to Some Mongolian Customs

  1. ugi says:

    hey guys how is your traveling?it seems wonderful to read your blog.good luck,have a nice journey

  2. Thantcyn says:

    Thanks so much Ugi. We are not done with Mongolia yet! We will be in Burma for the next month. We miss you guys! :)

  3. bolor says:

    yeah, it is true. mongolian youth people must respect oldster. oldsters teaching these rules every time. they dont like brick these rules.

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