Nomadic lifesytle in Mongolia
Although it is 2017 and the world has been heavily industrialized and westernized, there are still some places in the world that stay true to their cultural traditions, Mongolia being a great example as they are one of the last remaining nomadic cultures.
The "people of the steppes" have been around for 3,000 years now, and has resulted in Mongolia still having half its population carry on this way of life that is symbolized by continual roaming. The world is becoming more technology rich and as a result can outshine some of these cultural traditions, which has impacted Mongolians due to the decline of nomads over the years.
Despite the above, in its current state, Nomads are still living in their culture, and although the times have changed, it is fascinating to see how the ancestors have passed on their way of life to Mongolian nomads in the 21st century.
Mongolian Nomad Lifestyle
The word Nomad conjures up a lot of different perceptions depending on who you are; stereotypes are often formed based on several things including Hollywood and the media in general.
Fortunately, Mongolian Nomads are still in their element and have been following cultural and traditional patterns for quite a long time.
The rural and mobile lifestyle of Mongolian Nomads are the defining characteristics of their way of life, which involves the constant search for optimal locations for both them and their livestock. Activities in sustaining this type of life often involve taming common animals that are included in herds such as horses, sheeps, yaks and camels.
Mongolians are known as extremely proficient horse riders, which is a necessity to round up the herds they have, this is why most livestock usually include large numbers of horses so they can keep the rest in line. Recently, motorbikes have been introduced for the purpose of rounding up herds, though remain the 2nd option behind horses.
Photo: Charlotte Secco
Although the process of taming sounds black and white from the surface, Nomads typically travel with five animals and can cover an average of 400-500km a year, which places extreme stress when these demands are made.
During their travels, Mongolians carry around the ger, which is a portable yurt that is made to be resilient no matter what the season is, including weather that is near freezing. Gers are not typical tents, they are usually 10 meters in length and include appliances to cook food and to take care of daily necessities. During cold weather and rain, it can be quite miserable for Nomads as fires are usually lit below the tent smoke hole, which is put out by the rain resulting in cold nights.
As mentioned, the world is becoming more westernized and technology abundant, which is casting a shadow over traditional cultures such as Mongolia's nomads. As of 2017, nomads in Mongolia are now one of the last surviving cultures of their kind in the entire world and remain predominately intact with its traditions.
Only recently have nomads began to relocate to urban areas for the purpose of modern day living and conveniences, resulting in faster declines for the nomadic culture. The individuals who still continue their traditional life are now typically adopting many modern conveniences such as motorbikes, trucks for transporting homes and even solar panels for the Ger appliances.
This shift has happened so fast in the nomadic culture that there are now gas stations that are being built in the rural environment for such vehicles.
As a result of these shifts, it seems that there are two dominant groups of nomads now, the ones who are abandoning their way of life and welcoming a new modern one, and those who embrace the western living with some adaptability while maintaining their culture.
As stated, times are changing, and nomads are changing with them, for several millenniums nomads have been prominent and only now are they starting to dissipate with this new emerging world. This fact only makes the above even more important to discover and remember who the people of the steppes are and what they're about.