The Indo-Mongolian Relationship: A Retrospective
The May 9th Victory Day has revived the Mongolian love for Russia language holds a strong root in Mongolian society and culture. Considering the rise of China globally and the China-Mongolia relationship it is interesting to note that But for Mongolians, I think we should learn our Mongolian language. Turkish is a Turkic language related with Azerbaijani, Turkmen, Uzbek etc discredited by linguists, hence there isn't a clear connection between the two. Both yes and no; Mongolian and Turkish culture almost same, both nations are. Claire Kramsch defined their relationship as: “To begin with, the words the influence of specific culture, language becomes unique and.
The legacy of Genghis Khan's empire is a rallying point for Mongol nationalist pride today. Approximately 78 percent of people are Khalkha Mongols. The largest of these minority groups, Kazakhs make up 4 percent of the total population.
Small numbers of Russians and Chinese permanently live in Mongolia. While relations between Mongols and Russians are generally warm, widespread resentment exists among Mongols for the growing presence of entrepreneurial Chinese in their country.
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Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space Rapid urbanization and industrialization accompanied extensive Soviet aid following World War II and in the s, the country adopted a new economic strategy that added industrial activities and more extensive farming to its mainstay of livestock production. Many people migrated from rural to urban areas to work in the new industrial centers, and a population that was 78 percent rural in was 58 percent urban by Many urban settlers continued to live in traditional nomadic gers, round tents made of folding wooden walls and heavy felt outer coverings.
Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Approximately twenty five million head of livestock supply the staples of the diet; meat and dairy products feature prominently in this cuisine. Mongolian cooking is generally very simple and does not use many spices, flavorings or sauces. Common dishes include steamed meat—filled dumplings buuzmutton soup with noodles guriltai shul and fried meat pasties huushuur.
Mongolians drink copious quantities of milk tea suutei tsaiwhich frequently contains salt and a generous spoonful of fresh or rancid butter. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Food is an important element of the Mongolian hospitality tradition.
When guests arrive, each household sets out a special hospitality bowl containing homemade cheeses, flour pastries bordzigsugar cubes and candy. The fattest animals are slaughtered to be eaten. Meat-filled dumplings are traditionally served to guests. Vodka shots are served at regular intervals during a celebration. Primary to the economy are the "five types of animals: From these livestock numerous animal products are harvested, including meat, dairy products, hides, and wool.
Agricultural production takes place in some regions where grains wheat, barley, oatsanimal fodder, potatoes, and other vegetables are grown. The country is rich in natural resources including coal, copper, gold, fluorspar, and molybdenum, and has prospective areas for oil extraction that are currently being explored. The national currency is the tugrik.
Land Tenure and Property. Before socialism, a quasi-feudal system existed in which local aristocratic families and monasteries primarily governed: Herders mostly owned their animals but paid taxes to the nobility for using pastureland. In the 's, the U. However, widespread resistance by herders delayed the implementation of nationwide herding collectives until after World War II. Under the socialist system, the numbers of private animals that could be owned was tightly restricted, but these restrictions began to be lifted in the late 's.
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A number of manufacturing plants were built under socialism which continue to operate today. Industries include food and beverage processing, leather goods, textiles, carpets, chemicals, cement, and mining operations, especially coal mining.
Under socialism, the country participated in Comecon, the U. Approximately 85 percent of foreign trade was with the Soviet Union. In the early 's, the abrupt loss of foreign aid from the U. Since then, the country has been developing its free market economy and products now being exported include livestock, animal products, cashmere, wool, hides, copper, and fluorspar and other nonferrous metals.
The country maintains trade relations with over 25 countries and joined the World Trade Organization in In rural areas of the country, livestock production still predominates followed by crop production. In herding households, people of all ages are involved in safeguarding, caring for, and increasing the herds on which they subsist. While both young men and women participate in herding activities, older persons may help with caring for animals at the campsite and doing household chores including repairing tools, preparing hides, sewing, cooking, and childcare.
By contrast, in urban areas manufacturing, industrial, and service-oriented jobs are the norm. For these jobs, specialized abilities and training are more frequently required. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Like many nomadic pastoral cultures, the Mongols had a segmentary society, originally organized into a hierarchy of families, clans, tribes, and confederations.
While social classes including nobility, herders, artisans, and slaves existed, the social structure was not completely rigid and social mobility was possible. Under socialism, economic and social equality increased as variation in herd size and wealth levels was reduced. Economic expansion and rapid industrialization also contributed to increasing social mobility. The post-socialist period has been marked by increasing wealth differentiation. While certain segments of the population, such as new entrepreneurs, have prospered in the s, others have become rapidly impoverished.
Symbols of Social Stratification. In ancient times, material cultural objects including headdresses, clothing, horse-blankets and saddles, jewelry, and other personal objects were visual symbols of tribal affiliation and social status.
Today emerging wealth is often shown by purchasing and displaying Two cars travel up a street in the capital city of Ulan Bator. The population in was 58 percent urban. As a socialist nation, Mongolia modeled its political and economic systems on those of the U. A major transition in governmental structure and political institutions began in the late s in response to the collapse of the U. Free elections in resulted in a multiparty government that was still mostly Communist.
A new constitution was adopted in However, after four turbulent years and a series of prime ministers, the MPRP regained control of the government in The highest legislative body is a unicameral parliament called the State Great Hural with 76 elected members.
A president serves as the head of state and a prime minister is the head of government. After legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is typically elected prime minister by the parliament. The president is elected to a four year term by popular vote. Local government leaders are elected at the aimag provincial and soum district levels. Social Problems and Control. The original Mongolian legal code was the yasaa body of laws created after Genghis Khan's death but greatly influenced by his system of state administration.
This legal code dealt with military discipline, criminal law and societal customs and regulation. The modern legal system is closely related to that of the Soviet Union.
In the post socialist era, emerging poverty has resulted in an increase in crimes such as property theft and robbery, especially in the major cities. Situated in the geographically strategic location between Russia and China, the country is deeply concerned with national security issues.
Mongolian and Soviet troops have generally been closely allied throughout the 20th century. These armies fought together in the Mongolian Revolution and in the s against Japanese border incursions. Under socialism, both Soviet and Mongolian military bases existed in the Gobi region where the Mongolian border with China was heavily guarded.
Mongolian nomads cook at a stove outside a yurt. Meat and dairy products are a predominant staple of the diet. Social Welfare and Change Programs An elaborate social welfare system was established under socialism, providing all citizens with access to health care, education, and pensions.
The government received significant subsidies from the U. Following the withdrawal of Soviet aid, funding these programs has been a major challenge. New social problems, such as the existence of several thousand street children, have arisen as fallout from the ongoing economic crisis. For many centuries, there was a customary gender division of labor in this nomadic pastoral society.
Men typically handled external affairs including military, administrative, and trade matters. Men were primarily responsible for herding animals, hunting, slaughtering animals, and maintaining animal shelters.
How popular is Russian in Mongolia 26 Years After the Fall of the Soviet Union?
Repairing carts, tools, and weapons were also considered men's work. Women were mainly responsible for housework, milking animals, making dairy products, cooking, washing, sewing, and nurturing children. Relative Status of Women and Men. Unlike their counterparts elsewhere in Asia, Mongolian women historically enjoyed fairly high status and freedom. Since fertility was valued over virginity, the Mongols did not place the same emphasis on female purity as found in the Islamic societies in Asia.
Although women had legal equality with men under socialism, they were burdened with the responsibilities of housework and childcare as well as their labor for wages. Marriage, Family, and Kinship Marriage. Traditionally, families were the main unit of production in this herding society.
The kinship system was patrilineal and sons generally established households in a common camp with their fathers. Marriages were arranged by parents and a bridal dowry usually consisting of animals was negotiated based upon the social status of the families.
The 20th-century norm became for children to choose their own marriage partners with less extensive parental involvement. Several generations of families customarily live together in a nomadic camp known as a khot ail "group of tents" and share herding tasks. This camp, generally consisting of two to seven households, serves as a way of pooling labor for herding and has numerous social and ritual functions.
Besides the khot ail, a larger neighborhood group called neg nutgiinhan "people of one place" generally consists of four to twenty khot ails that frequently move and work together. Historically, the cultural pattern of old age support was ultimogeniture and the youngest son would typically inherit the largest share of the parent's animals.
Today, there is greater variation in inheritance depending on personality considerations and the economic and living circumstances of different family members. Socialization Child Rearing and Education. Children have always been treasured in Mongolian culture, and large families were historically the norm. Large families were considered desirable because many children ensured extra help and security in old age. Although family size is changing today, the country is still so sparsely populated that some people still believe it is advantageous to have "as many Mongolians as possible.
Under socialism, a high value was placed on elementary education and literacy. While education was limited to monks in Buddhist monasteries before the 20th century, under socialism the adult literacy rate rose to over 90 percent.
The Mongolian State University was founded in Much of the teaching was originally in Russian due to a lack of Mongol language texts in specialized fields. Under socialism, the higher education system provided opportunities for promising students from all regions of the country to participate in advanced study in the Soviet Union or in Eastern Europe and education was closely linked to upward social mobility. Etiquette Hospitality has always been extremely important in Mongolian culture.
Since visitors often travel great distances, there are many ritual ways of showing politeness, especially to guests. One such custom that remains from feudal times is the snuff bottle ritual— a guest and host offer each other their snuff bottles to examine as part of a greeting ritual. It is customarily expected that guests will be served the finest food possible and that vodka will also be plentiful. Mongols sought the counsel and help of the lama priest or monk for every aspect of their life: SinceLamaist beliefs and practices have decreased drastically.
In preparation for this holiday, the Mongols make new clothes and store large amounts of mutton, wine, and dairy products. On the eve of the lunar New Year, all members of the family sit cross-legged in the center of the ger or yurt a framed tent made of felt or hide and begin their dinner at midnight. They offer toasts to the elders, eat and drink a great deal, and listen to storytelling all night long.
Early the next morning, they dress up and call on relatives and friends at their homes. Dancing and singing are part of the celebration. The Feast of Genghis Khan is on April 23 on the lunar calendar, set according to the phases of the moon. On the Western calendar, it falls between May 17 and June On this occasion, there are activities to commemorate Genghis Khan, exchanges of goods, theatrical performances, and sports games.
In June or July of each year, the Mongols celebrate a special ritual, called Aobao. This holiday seems to go back to an ancient shamanistic practice. Aobao is a kind of altar or shrine made of a pile of stone, adobe bricks, and straw. The Aobao is believed to be the dwelling of the gods. During the ritual, tree branches are tossed into the Aobao, which is surrounded by lit joss sticks similar to incense.
Wine and horse milk are sprinkled over the mound, and mutton and cheese are placed on it as sacrificial offerings. While performing the ritual, the shaman witch doctor dances and enters into a trance. Wrestling and horse racing follow the religious ceremony. The Nadam Rally is a traditional holiday of the Mongols. Nadam means recreation and play. It is a happy festival of the herders, held annually on a selected day in the summer or in the fall.
In the western region where herders travel in search of pasturethe last form of burial is the most common.
The body of the dead is placed in an open, horse-drawn cart and carried over rough terrain until the corpse falls off the cart due to the bumps. Then the body is laid in the wild. It is believed that when it is eaten by wolves or vultures, the soul of the dead rises to heaven.
If the body is still there after a week, it is regarded as unlucky: A lama priest is then invited to recite the scriptures and pray for the dead. Their hospitality displays the generosity that is characteristic of nomadic peoples. The master of a ger or yurt house will put up a stranger for the night. He offers milk tea, mutton, and wine. The whole family shows concern by asking detailed questions. Upon leaving, the guest will be accompanied for quite a distance, then told the direction of his destination.
The Mongols in Yunnan have a special custom called "to meet the firewood-cutter. In this manner they express loving care for the family member engaged in hard labor. It can be taken apart and carried on horseback, thus being suitable for nomadic life.
The yurt is round with an umbrella-like cover. The qana walls are made of lattice similar to an expandable baby gate used in Western homes. The wall sections are held together with leather lacing. The roof ring is a usually a large hoop to which the wall sections and roof poles are attached.
The door is usually constructed of wood, and is always positioned to face the southwest. The threshold is believed to hold the spirit of the household, and it is considered a great insult to the owner of the house to step on the threshold.
The exterior is covered with large pieces of felt tied together by ropes. Only a round skylight and a doorframe toward the southwest are left open. The yurt may be small as 4 yards 3. Stationary yurts are common in seminomadic districts. Most of them are made of wood and adobe. In agricultural areas, the Mongols usually dwell in one-story houses like the Chinese, within the boundaries of a village.
Mongols living in towns and cities have, to a large extent, adopted the Chinese way of life. Horseback riding is the traditional mode of transportation. Recently, however, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars have become more common in Mongol towns and villages. The sons, after marrying, move out of their parents' home.
However, they live nearby and may travel with their parents in search of new pastures. In seminomadic districts, families often include parents, sons, and daughters-in-law. The Mongols are monogamous. The family is dominated by the man, but herders usually consult their wives about major decisions. Furniture, clothes, and ornaments brought to the family by the wife during the wedding ceremony remain her own property.
A custom of "denying entrance on marrying" has been common among the nomadic and seminomadic Mongols. The bridegroom, accompanied by relatives, rides to the bride's yurt house. He finds the door slammed in his face. After repeated requests, the door is finally opened. He presents a hada ceremonial silk scarf to his parents-in-law on entering and is given a banquet with a whole lamb.
After the meal, the bride sits with her back to the others. The bridegroom kneels behind her and asks what her nickname was in childhood. He drinks at her house all night long. The following day, the bride leaves the yurt first. She circles the yurt on horseback three times, then speeds along to the bride-groom's house. The bridegroom and his relatives ride after her. The door is also slammed in her face and is only opened after repeated requests.
In winter the Mongols living in pastoral areas where domesticated animals are herded usually wear a sheep fur coat with silk or cloth on the outside. In summer, they wear loose robes, usually in red, yellow, or dark navy, with long sleeves and silk waistbands called bus. Knives with beautiful sheaths, snuff-bottles, and flint are worn as pendants at the waist. Snuff, a tobacco product, is either powdered and inhaled, or ground up and held between the cheek and gums. Flint is a hard stone used for striking a spark to start a fire.
High leather boots with the toes turned up are often worn. Mongolian peasants wear a cloth shirt and robes, or cotton-padded clothes and trousers, along with a waistband. Felt boots are worn in winter. Men wear black or brown pointed hats, and some of them wrap their heads with silk. Women wrap red or blue cloth on their heads and wear a cone-shaped hat in winter. Roasted mutton and yogurt are popular.
Breakfast usually consists of stir-fried millet tea with milk. Beef, mutton, and noodle soup are eaten for lunch and dinner. Mongols drink the milk of horses, cows, and sheep, as well as tea and wine.