khar_muur: (mongolia_flag)
WHY THE CAMEL ROLLS IN THE ASHES

A great many years ago, the Buddha began assigning an animal to each of the years of the twelve-year Mongolian calendar. When he had finished assigning eleven animals, the Buddha paused to consider which animal should be allowed the twelfth and final year.

On hearing this, the Camel and the Mouse, neither of whom had been selected, rushed to see the Buddha. Bowing respectfully before the Great Sage, each presented himself as a worthy candidate. The Buddha listened in silence as each animal argued his case.

When the elaborate pleas came to an end, the Wise Buddha, not wishing to offend either of the eager and equally deserving animals, quietly told the Camel and the Mouse that they would have to resolve the matter themselves in a friendly and honest way.

The big Camel and the tiny Mouse, after much discussion and debate, finally agreed that they would settle the issue with a contest. The first to see the light of the new morning sun the very next day would be the winner, and the winner would enter the twelve-year Mongolian calendar for all time.

That night, in the darkness, in the middle of a wide, open plain, the Camel took up a position facing East. The Mouse, who had asked the Camel if he could sit on his hump, fixed his eyes on a faraway, snow-covered mountain to the West. Eyes propped wide open, the two anxious contestants settled down to wait for the critical moment.

At dawn, when the great fiery ball began its slow ascent, one thin early ray glanced off the snowy western mountaintop. The Mouse squealed out: "There it is! I see the sun! I win!"

"What?" cried the Camel, who knew that the sun rose in the East. "Why, you little sneak! You've cheated! You'll pay for this!"

As the terrified Mouse scurried down the Camel's hump to seek safety in a nearby pile of ashes, the Camel charged after him. He threw his heavy body on the ground, and rolled back and forth on the ash pile, hoping to crush the Mouse with his weight.

The Camel didn't squash the Mouse that time, but he's certain that one day he will. Whenever he spies a pile of ashes, he thinks the Mouse must be hiding inside. He snorts, stamps his feet, then lies down and rolls around and around, trying to flatten his tricky little foe.

So it happened that the little Mouse entered the twelve-year Mongolian calendar while the big Camel was excluded.

Feeling sorry for the Camel, the Wise Buddha told him gently that he would never be forgotten. No, in fact the Camel would be represented in the Mongolian calendar by possessing one feature of each of the twelve different animals.

If you look carefully at the Camel, you will see that the Buddha has kept his word, because the Camel has:

the ears of the Mouse
the stomach of the Cow
the paws of the Tiger
the nose of the Hare
the body of the Dragon
the eyes of the Snake
the mane of the Horse
the wool of the Sheep
the hump of the Ape
the head-crest of the Rooster
the crooked back-legs of the Dog
and the tail of the Pig.

This, as you can imagine, makes him a very happy Camel indeed.

happy-baby-mongolian-n-camel

From the Mongolian Folktales (1996)

St. Khar

Aug. 25th, 2012 12:28 am
khar_muur: (sinfest maitri)
Today I helped a Mongolian electrician (Mr. Batzaya) repair his house in Ulaanbaatar. I gave him a sponsored loan of $25 via Kiva.org – if anyone wants to participate (in helping Mr. Batzaya or someone else), let me know and I'll send you an invite. The first loan is sponsored, as I said, so it's free to make, although registration is required. Lending can be done anonymously, though I chose to let it show my name.

I think I'll start lending once I get some money myself. It's charity, but not a donation, so I can afford it even after donating to Amnesty, WWF and Unicef every damn month :P aren't I a saint, yeah. Planning on dropping Unicef from that list, though, and possibly adding some animal rights group (that is not PETA) on the list. There are plenty more people who care about human children than those who care about animals, after all. And anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I really don't care much about children in general. I only became a donator because of art school entry exams. Long story.

Oh, on the music choice here: normally I quite dislike Hallelujah, regardless of who's performing it, but k.d. lang happens to be one of the few artists who make some sense of that song.
khar_muur: (mongolia_flag)


Some history of Mongolian surnames


Mongolians do not use surnames in the way that most Westerners, Chinese or Japanese do. In the Middle Ages, clan names were sometimes used in a particular morphological form.

The Communist Rule forbade the use of clan names, so patronymics - then called ovog, now called etsgiin ner - were (and still are) used instead. If the father's name is unknown, a matronymic is used. The patro- or matronymic is written before the given name. Therefore, if a man with given name Tsakhia has a son, and gives the son the name Elbegdorj, the son's full name is Tsakhia Elbegdorj. Very frequently, the patronymic is given in genitive case, i.e. Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. However, the patronymic is rather insignificant in everyday use and usually just given as initial - T. Elbegdorj. People are normally just referred to and adressed by their given name (Elbegdorj guai - Mr. Elbegdorj), and the patronymic is only used to keep two people with a common given name apart. Even then, they are usually just kept apart by their initials, not by the full patronymic, or by different nicknames.

Since 2000, Mongolians have been officially using clan names (also ovog) on their ID cards. Many people chose the names of the ancient clans and tribes such as Borjigin (which was the clan of Chinggis Khaan and therefore quite popularly claimed), Besud, Jalair, etc. Also many extended families chose the names of the native places of their ancestors. Some chose the names of their most ancient known ancestor. Some just decided to pass their own given names (or modifications of their given names) to their descendants as clan names. Some chose or other attributes of their lives as surnames. Mongolia's first cosmonaut Gürragchaa chose Sansar (Outer space). Clan names precede the patronymics and given names, as in Besud Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. In practice, these clan names seem to have had no really significant effect, and are not included in Mongolian passports either.

Inner Mongolians often only use given names. In Chinese transcriptions of Mongolian names, the first syllable is sometimes wrongly given as surname, i.e. Ulanhu becomes Wu Lanfu.


(Slightly edited, from Canada-Mongolia Connection)
khar_muur: (mongolia_flag)
Happy National Day of Mongolia!

I wish I had something insightful and interesting to write about Mongolia now, but regrettably I only have some links to some nice contemporary Mongolian music I've found on YouTube. Shame on me! Next year I promise to write extensively about Halha, the main dialect of the official language of Mongolia (Монгол хэл/ Mongol khel), because I recently placed an order for a book of colloquial Mongolian, which means I'll definitely learn the language as well as I can by next year.

Here is a pop song/schlager by a marvellously good singer. That voice!
This one is by a rock group called Pilots.
Some dance pop by a very pretty singer.
A bit of alternative folk by Dangaa Hosbayar.
More rock'n roll by a gorgeous performer Otgoo here.
And actually, truly epic music and an equally epic music video by Haranga. I know I call too many things epic, but... Godsdamnit. I think they're my favourite Mongolian music group.
khar_muur: (mongolia_flag)
Happy Mongolian National Day!

Some history of the national anthem of Mongolia at Wikipedia.

I was going to write about the national anthem, myself, but I noticed that the Wikipedia article covered absolutely every fact that I had been planning on sharing. Sürs. I really recommend you check it out - the lyrics they had under the Soviet reign were fairly interesting. An excerpt:

Connect faith with the Soviet Union
Agree with progressive people
Agree with direction
Bravely follow glorious communism


The lyrics they use now are actually quite beautiful, and so is, of course, the melody. Most countries' national anthems are sickeningly pompous and musically incredibly dull, most likely so that everyone could learn it easily. Nothing wrong with that, I think, as I am definitely as non-patriotic as they get and generally don't support any form of deliberate nationalism. But Mongolia's anthem is both simple and beautiful, amazingly enough. And this I say without as much as a hint of bias.

Now I shall go back to imagining myself sitting in the middle of the great Gobi in mid-day sun. 'Tis not hard right now. Ulaanbaatar is at 23 degrees C currently.
khar_muur: (mongolia_flag)
It's the National Day of Mongolia again, people. This time I'm writing about the history of the main local religions (using my memory and Lonely Planet: Mongolia as reference).

Buddhism )

Shamanism )

Christianity )


khar_muur: (mongolia_flag)
[Error: unknown template qotd]With Chinggis Khaan. In front of his ger.
khar_muur: (mongolia_flag)

Mal süreg targan tavtaiyuu?


(A festival, I love festivals! Drinks all around!)

The Naadam Festival, sometimes called eriin gurvan naadam (эрийн гурван наадам) ("three manly games") is the biggest event to take place in Mongolia each year. Beginning on July the 11th, the National Day, the three-day Festival consists of competing in traditional arts and games like wrestling, archery and riding (horse and camel races).

Happy National Day of Mongolia!
khar_muur: (mongolia_flag)
The Soyombo, an ancient Shamanist symbol of all Mongolian peoples

The moon, sun, and fire represent the origin of the Mongols.
The rectangles and triangles represent honesty and justice.
The yin-yang symbol [Tao] represents vigilance, for it represents two fish, and fish never sleep.
The two upright lines represent the strength of friendship, for two friends standing together are stronger than walls of stone.

(http://www.buryatmongol.com)

beejgy; mkulkkb helugyg; ohtl
= What is a joke for a cat will be death for a mouse (Mongolian proverb)

[muurand togloom, khulgand ukhel]

Edit: The text above in orange is supposed to be in Mongolian cyrillic...

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A Journey in the Dark

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