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City Guides / Guides

Winter Party Time in Inner Mongolia

By Xinzhu Xiao

November 29

Inner Mongolia recently promoted their distinct winter tourism resources to the world. It blends natural winter landscapes with folk culture. Wintertime is party time in Inner Mongolia.

Inner Mongolia recently promoted their distinct winter tourism resources to the world. It blends natural winter landscapes with folk culture. Wintertime is party time in Inner Mongolia.

The winter season in Inner Mongolia lasts seven months, with picturesque silver and white views of the vast grasslands, rolling mountains, staggered rivers, lakes and deserts coming together to create a breathtaking view. Inner Mongolia recently promoted their distinct winter tourism resources to the world. It blends natural winter landscapes with folk culture. Wintertime is party time in Inner Mongolia.

1. Winter Nadam Fair

Singers in traditional costumes perform during a winter Nadam in Xilin Gol, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Jan. 6, 2017. [Image Credit: www.news.cn]
Nadam is a mass traditional Mongolian festival where people celebrate harvests and pray for good luck. It is usually held throughout the pastoral areas in the summer or in the winter on the snow-covered grassland, and it has a history of more than 700 years.

The Winter Nadam Fair features traditional Mongolian performances and sports contests such as horse riding and archery, despite the bitter cold of -20 degrees Celsius.

2.China Pole of Cold Festival

This year marks the fifth China Pole of Cold Festival. The last four years festivals were opened in Genhe, a city under the administration of the Hulunbuir League, located at the northernmost tip of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.  Recognized as the Pole of Cold in China, the average yearly temperature is -5.3 degrees Celsius, while the lowest temperature recorded is -58 degrees Celsius.

A visitor rides a sleigh pulled by a reindeer during the last year’s Pole of Cold Festival. [Image Credit: nmgnews.com.cn]
Despite the extremely cold weather, visitors feel warmth and hospitability from locals. In Lengji (extremely cold) Village, tourists can enjoy organic homemade food and wine, sleep on firewood-heated brick beds and ride sleighs pulled by reindeers or horses. Tourists can also experience distinctive shamanic culture while enjoying the fantastic winter scenery of primitive forests. In the snow-blanketed village, Santa Claus and his reindeer might appear on Christmas Day.

3.Camel Fair

Herdsmen take part in the camel fair in Ewenki Autonomous Banner, Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Dec. 20, 2016. [Image Credit: www.news.cn]
While most urban dwellers celebrate winter with ice-skating on public squares, herdsman from the vast grassland of Inner Mongolia express their appreciation of the season with something much more spectacular – a camel festival.

The camel fair creates a local version of a winter wonderland for the local ethnic community.

The annual event, aimed at promoting traditional folklore as well as celebrating the winter season, includes camel racing, horse racing, a camel beauty pageant and cultural exhibitions related to the animal.

4.Winter Fishing Festival

A day’s catch on the ice-covered Hulun Lake in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Dec. 26, 2016. [Image Credit: xinhuanet.com]
Winter fishing has been a tradition of Elunchun ethnic group with a thousand years of history. Typically, the fish harvest begins in late December. In recent years, winter fishing as a tourism business usually starts when the temperature goes as low as -20 degrees Celsius. A river god sacrifice ceremony is often held before the fishing festival begins. Fishermen wait after putting the net in the ice-covered lake while various ongoing folk performances showcase Elunchun culture to the tourists.

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