Mongolia’s Golden Eagle Festival
Where the mountains meet the sky and the wind whispers secrets, the golden eagles gather for a timeless ritual. A festival of ancient traditions, where man and bird unite in a dance of grace and power. Amidst the rugged beauty of Mongolia, the spirit of the eagle soars free, its golden wings ablaze with the fire of the ancestors. If you want to see a true nomadic culture, far removed from the modern world, this is your chance!
About the Golden Eagle Festival
The festival dates back to the early 19th century, when eagle hunting was an essential skill for many nomadic tribes in the region.
Eagle hunting is a traditional method of hunting that involves training golden eagles to hunt small game such as foxes and rabbits. The hunters would raise and train the eagles, which were then released to hunt in the wild. The hunters would follow their eagles on horseback, and when the eagles caught their prey, the hunters would reward them with a piece of meat.
The Golden Eagle Festival was almost wiped out during the soviet era and was not held during this time. The first instance of the Golden Eagle Festival held after the soviet era was in 1999. The festival was created to promote and preserve the ancient tradition of eagle hunting, as well as to showcase the skill and artistry of the eagle hunters.
During the festival, the eagle hunters compete in various events, such as speed and agility competitions, and display their hunting skills. The festival also includes traditional Mongolian music and dance performances, as well as displays of traditional Mongolian arts and crafts.
Various horse games are also played – no Mongolian festival would be complete without featuring the horse, an animal that is central to Mongolian and indeed, Central Asian life.
Today, the Golden Eagle Festival is a major cultural event in Mongolia and attracts visitors from all over the world. It is a unique opportunity to witness the ancient tradition of eagle hunting and to experience Mongolian culture and hospitality.
When & where is the Festival Held?
The Golden Eagle Festival is held annually in Bayan-Ölgii Province, in western Mongolia. This province is known for its large population of Kazakh people who have a tradition of hunting with golden eagles. During the festival, eagle hunters compete to show off their skills in various events, such as eagle hunting competitions, traditional games, and cultural performances. The festival usually takes place in early October and attracts both locals and tourists from around the world.
Getting to the festival can prove quite the challenge, even for the most seasoned traveller. Flight to the town of Uglli depart on a somewhat erratic schedule from the capital, Ulaanbaatar and then you will need to get to the festival which is held in the countryside. English is not widely spoken in this area of Mongolia (or Mongolia in general, but even less so here) so catching public transport may prove difficult. Our recommendation is to have someone waiting to collect you and take you to your accommodation, or better yet to book an organised tour to ensure you don’t miss out on anything.
The festival is usually held in October, but the exact dates can vary from year to year. The festival typically lasts for two days and celebrates the traditional practice of hunting with golden eagles, which has been a part of the local Kazakh culture for centuries.
Interested in the Golden Eagle Festival? Why not check out our tour to Mongolia – including the Golden Eagle Festival, Snow Leopard Safari and visit to Hustai National Park to spot Prezwalski’s Horse! For more information or to make a booking please give us a call on +61 (2) 7229 1926 or email us at email@example.com