With a total population of 5,813,947, the Mongolians live mainly in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Some are distributed in Xinjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Gansu and Qinghai. There are also some scattered in Sichuan, Ningxia, Yunnan and Beijing.
Reputed as 'pearl in the grassland', the Mongolians have kept their nomadic living style for hundreds of years. 'Mongolian' originally was the name of one of the Mongolian tribes. At the beginning of the 13th century, a tribe headed by Genghis Khan unified all the other tribes, giving birth to a new nationality - Mongolian ethnic group.
Most Mongolians believe in Lamaism and they have their own language and alphabet. The Mongolian language is a branch of Altaic language family, and the script was created in the 13th century and improved in the 14th century.
Living in grassland, the Mongolians rely on raising stock as their economic support. Kumiss, roasted mutton, shoubarou and dairy are their favorite food and drink. They live in tents which are characterized by their facility and portability. Being round, the larger size can hold over 20 people and the smaller over 10 people. For this nomadic group, tents are easy to set up, tear down and take with.
Music of Mongolian Minority
The Mongolians are fond of robes. The men's are very wide and outfitted with a girdle while women's are slender. The Mongolian women normally wear beautiful headbands and elegant ornaments. Boots, made of cloth and cowhide with good protection, are essential to Mongolians. A red or green waistband, flint steel, snuffbox, and knife in an ornate sheath for cutting meat are accessories common to all men and women.
The Mongolians are adept at singing and dancing. The horse head string instrument is the unique music instrument of the Mongolians. It is so named because the headstock of it is made into a horse-head shape. The sound of the instrument has a special grassland-flavor, so it is loved by the Mongolians who live in grasslands.
The Mongolians are a nationality on horseback. Their ancestors once conquered a vast region and founded a strong kingdom on the horseback. Throughout their entire history, horses have played an important role in their daily lives. Horse racing is a prevalent sport among Mongolians. Every one loves to prove his worth by demonstrating skills in horsemanship and archery, as well as wrestling.
In the grassland, the ceremonious Nadam Festival is held each August to celebrate their good harvest. Contests such as archery on horseback, wrestling, horse racing and other traditional activities are held. The festival lasts 5 to 7 days. Contest winners are regarded as heroes by the Mongolians.