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Mongol Nationality

By:Alice
Mongol Nationality, a traditional nomadic people, is mainly distributed in east region, is one of China's Ethnic Minorities, and is also the main body of Mongolian Nationality. Mongolian people lived on the grassland and animal husbandry. Living a nomadic life of "living by water and grass" is still regarded as a symbol of Mongolian Nationality, although this way of living is weakened in modern society. "Mongolia" means "Eternal Fire". In ancient Mongolian, the word "Mongolia" means "plain". It is also believed that the original meaning of "Mongolia" is "Elyos".


History of Mongol Nationality
The history, written in Persian in the 14th century, tells the story of an ancient Mongolian legend: the Mongols were defeated by other tribes and brutally slaughtered, surviving only two men and two women. They fled to a place where there were mountains and good grasslands in the middle. This place was called Ergonekun -- the steep hill. They lived and bred here, from generation to generation. The "Erguna" in this legend is the Erguna River flowing through the Hulun Buir Grassland, which is the birthplace of the Mongolian people. 


Distribution of Mongol Nationality
The Mongols live mainly in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the rest in Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Hebei, Henan, Sichuan, Yunnan and Beijing. In addition, Mongolian is also distributed in Russia and other Asian and European countries, and Ewenki and Tu languages are sometimes considered as subdivisions of Mongolian.


Language and Character
The Mongols have their own language. Mongolian language belongs to the Mongolian language of Altai language family, which has four dialects of Inner Mongolia, Weilat, Balhubriat and Horqin. The Mongolian script was written in the early 13th Century based on the Hui or ancient Uygur script, which was later modified and developed into its current form.


Religion
Shamanism is the ancient primitive religion of the Mongols. Shamanism worships a variety of natural and ancestral gods. Genghis Khan believed in Shamanism and worshipped Tengger Khan as the "Eternal God". Until the Yuan Dynasty, Shamanism had a dominant position in Mongolian society and still had an important influence on the Mongol royal family, the Maharajahs and the people. Royal ancestor worship, offering Imperial Ancestral Temple, the emperor riding on the capital, are presided over by the Shaman sacrifice.
In the 13th Century, the red sect of Lamaism began to appear among the Mongol rulers. In the 16th Century, many feudal lords and herdsmen turned to the Yellow Religion. Lamaism was later protected and encouraged by the Qing Court. The senior lamas were given different titles, positions and privileges, and they gradually formed a ruling feudal class that coexisted with the ruling feudal lords. These rulers not only ran roughshod over the people, but also possessed large herds of cattle and large tracts of land. The feudal rulers encouraged young people to become monks, who neither married nor took part in manual labour. Therefore, during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the number of Lamas increased to one third of the Mongolian population, seriously hindering the development of production and population growth.


Diet
The nomadic lifestyle of the Mongols determined their diet, which traditionally consisted mainly of meat, milk and other dairy products provided by their livestock. This includes lamb, beef and goats, as well as milk and other dairy products from cattle and goats. Horse meat was sometimes eaten, but generally only during religious ceremonies and festivals, as horses enjoyed a near-sacred status among the Mongols.
Today, the Mongolian diet has expanded to include vegetables and pasta and rice. Milk is still the staple food of the Mongols. It is also used as: Yogurt, Milk wine (the most precious of which is fermented mare's milk, which can be further fermented into a blistering, beer-like drink called Airag), milk Tofu (a curdling process of fermenting milk in which the dry parts are separated and formed into a hard tofu-like structure). Sometimes the thick milk is cooled and eaten as it is, with a spoon, or partially skimmed to form a "milk skin" that tastes like a mixture of butter and cream, but can also be eaten as it is.


House Style
Mongolian Yurt is a kind of Dome-type dwelling house with circular spire on the grassland, which is composed of wooden grid pole, gate, top ring, lint and leather rope, bristle rope and other parts.
Yurts are called "Felt Tents" or "Forganlu" in the Chinese classics such as “Shiji and Hanshu”. The word "Bao" comes from Manchu. This kind of house is called "Mongolian Bao" in Manchu. "Bao" means "home" and "Bo" is close to the sound of "bao". Therefore, Mongolian bao has been passed down as a translation.
The Mongolian ger is practical in every way: it is quickly collapsible and packs away to almost nothing, making it easy to transport; its ground-hugging base and its conical top - which also sheds rain instantly - help keep the ger snug to the ground, even in strong winds; and inside, it is very roomy and ventilated.


Costume
Mongolian life is unique. The pastoral people wore fur in winter, with satin, cloth, or nothing inside, and loose, long-sleeved cotton-padded robes in summer. Mongolian dress is usually red, yellow or dark blue. A red or green belt, flintlock steel, snuffbox and knife in an ornate sheath to cut meat are common accessories for all men and women. Knee-high felt boots are a common footwear. Mongols, men and women, wear cone-shaped hats in winter. They also like to wear silk or cloth headscarves. The girls parted their hair in the middle and decorated it with two large beads and agate, coral and green jade.


Festivals
The biggest festival is the Nadam Fair, which takes place in late August and lasts five to seven days. Mongols in new clothes will gather from many places. Many will take part in fierce competitions such as shooting, wrestling and horse riding. The festival lasts 5 to 7 days. Contest winners are regarded as heroes by the Mongolians.


Marriage
The Mongols practiced monogamy. Before the middle of the 20th Century, marriage between nobles and commoners was allowed, but daughters of Zhasake lords were not allowed to marry commoners. Marriages were often arranged by parents or local feudal lords. Before the wedding, people chant prayers and ask for god's blessing.
Mongolian families usually consist of parents and children. When a son gets married, he usually lives in another home close to his parents. In agricultural and semi-agricultural areas, there are also several married sibling families.


Art
Mongolian is a nation that loves music and can sing and dance. Mongolians have been living a nomadic life of water and grass since ancient times. In the long course of history, Mongolians have created rich and valuable musical wealth with their wisdom and artistic talent.
The Mongolian dance rhythm is cheerful, the movement is vigorous and powerful, to shake the shoulder, rub the arm, the horse step has the characteristic most. The classical Mongolian traditional dances include "Sabre Dance", "Chopstick Dance", "Andai Dance", "bowl dance" and so on. Traditional instruments mainly include Morin Khuur, Yatoga (Mongolian Zither), Mongolian Pipa, Mongolian Ukulele and Mongolian War Drum.


Taboo
1. Taboos in Daily Life: when Mongolian people ride horses or drive cars near the Yurt, they should avoid heavy riding and go fast, so as not to disturb the herd. If there is a fire in front of the door or hang a red cloth and other signs, it means that there are patients or pregnant women.  Outsiders should not  enter. Guests cannot sit on the Kang because the west is the Buddha's Orientation. Red and white colors are normally used in funeral, while black and yellow colors are for  wedding. Avoid baking feet, shoes, socks and trousers on the brazier. No smoking, spitting, fumbling with ritual utensils, scriptures, Buddha statues and loud noises are allowed while visiting the temple's sutras and service halls. No hunting is allowed near the temple.
2. Fire Taboo: the Mongols worship the God of Fire and Kitchen, believing that fire, or kitchen god is a holy thing to drive out and ward off evil spirits. After entering the Yurts, it is forbidden to roast your feet on the stove, let alone wet boots and shoes. Do not cross the stove, or run on the stove; do not crack tobacco or throw dirty things on the stove.
3. Water Taboo: Mongolian people think that water is a pure god. It’s forbidden to wash hands, bath, wash women's dirty clothes, or clean things in the river. The grassland is dry and short of water, so herdsmen are used to saving water regard water as the source of life.

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