1. Tips on Mongolian Traditions
Tips on Mongolian Traditions
- A Mongolian ger (traditional tent) entrance is not as tall as a regular entrance, so please duck to avoid hitting your head when you enter the ger.
- Do not touch the hot stove or chimney when the stove has a fire burning or the embers are still hot.
- When you visit a nomadic family, presenting the children or hostess with a gift it will be greatly appreciated. The gift can be small and useful like a notebook, pen, candy, biscuit etc.
- After entering a ger, always move around the stove in a clockwise direction.
- Bowls of food and drink will be offered to you with the host’s right hand or both hands. Receive them also with both-hands or your right hand. It is not necessary to eat or drink it all, just tasting will be fine.
- When you enter, the hostess will meet you with a bowl of airag (mare’s fermented milk) or a cup of tea in her hands. You should unroll your sleeves if they are rolled up and take the bowl or cup with both hands.
- After entering the ger wait for the host to show you to your seat. The Mongolians observe a strict ritual of seating in the ger. The north side is for the host, the left side is for the hostess and right side is for the guests. The entrance is always on the south side.
- Mongolian men traditionally offer each other their snuffboxes. It is rude to refuse.
- Whistling in the ger or leaning against the upright supports is very bad luck!
- Never roll up your sleeves in the ger as it means that you are ready to fight with the host.
- Hosts will often wish you well. A suitable reply is wish that their sheep or horses grow up to be strong.
- A guest is supposed to tell the host where he/she is from and if he/she enjoys Mongolia. A host would be considered rude to ask if the guest did not offer the information freely.
- Do not shake someone’s hand with your gloves on. Remove them even it is so cold.
- Squat or kneel on the floor and if seated on a stool, tuck your feet underneath and do not stick them straight out in front of you.
- When handing a knife or scissors to someone, always give them with handle towards the person you give it to. You want the sharp end towards you.
- A hunter never enters the ger with his gun but leaves it outside the ger.
- In some places, displaying deep respect, the Mongolians may welcome you with a long stretching khadag (silk) and a silver cup full of milk. It is not necessary to drink all the milk and you may just try it and pass to the next person.