May 13, 2015

Southern Mongolia: Celebration of Spring Rituals


On 9 May 2015, thousands of ethnic Mongolians celebrated the spring ceremony in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the north of China. During the celebrations, Southern Mongolians reconnected with their cultural heritage through memorial rituals dedicated to the conqueror Genghis Khan believed to be the ancestor of all ethnic Mongolians. 


Below is an article published by Yibada:


A grand spring memorial ceremony was celebrated on Saturday, May 9, at a shrine dedicated to renowned 13th-century conqueror Genghis Khan. 

Thousands of ethnic Mongolians gathered in the site of the commemorative shrine located in Ordos, in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, North China, to pay their respects. A white silk ceremonial scarf called "hada" was also offered by other worshippers. 

The conqueror is said to be the ancestor of ethnic Mongolians. Born in the land called Temujin, Genghis Khan later founded the mighty Mongol Empire, which went on to become the largest contiguous empire known in the history of mankind. He was crowned as the Great Khan or Emperor of the Mongol Empire in the spring of 1206. He reigned until his death on Aug. 18, 1227.

As a historical figure of great importance, memorial rituals dedicated to the Great Khan are protected and considered as a state intangible cultural heritage. The spring ritual, which lasts for eight days, is one of the most important annual rituals of the commemorative shrine.

For many ethnic Mongolians, the spring ritual is a way to reconnect with their heritage.

''The last time I participated in the spring ritual was in 2008, this time I brought my friends from Shandong Province to experience the Mongolian culture," said Hasiet, a 50-year-old ethnic Mongolian woman.

She came all the way to Ordos from Hohhot, the capital of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Like Ordos, the city is home to several memorials such as the Genghis Khan Monument.

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is home to around five million ethnic Mongolians.