Autumn is the season of transition from the comparatively hot and wet summer to the cold and dry winter. Autumn is an important season Mongolia for preparation for winter, harvesting the crops, vegetables and fodder; getting ready with cattle barns and sheds; preparing firewood and warming up homes and so on.
Immediately after Naadam festival, herders go to cut the hay. The hay cut in green helps animals to survive a cold winter and harsh spring. In rainless or droughty summer, herders must think over transhumance. As summer in Gobi aimags is usually droughty, the herders have to migrate to the neighboring aimags to pass the winter. Since recent, a dispute often breaks out over pastures between the migrated and local people, the authorities of relevant aimags meet in advance to settle the issue.
While men, old and young, are busy with cutting the hay, wives and daughters have also much to do. They prepare various dairy products such as solid cream, aaruul, and eezgii (curd), and round up for winter and spring consumption. These products are prepared during summer when there is an abundance of milk. Also, women and children collect nutritious grass such as allium mongolicum, wild leek and prepare fodder.
Since recent the new mode of life is making a way into Mongolia as the majority of populations have become urban residents. Women in urban areas put down fruits, vegetables for winter.
In autumn the Mongolians prefer to go to spa and get therapy. This is due to the effect of therapeutic treatment that is supposed to be the best by the end of summer and the first month of autumn according to the traditional medicine. The well-known spas in Mongolia, including Orgil, Janchivlan, Shargaljuut are busy during this time, with people going to and fro.
The Mongolians celebrate many festivities in autumn, as there is a plenty of milk products, crops get harvested, and animals fattened for slaughter. The propitious day is selected for the event a month or year ahead. The 17th of the middle month of autumn (according to the lunar calendar) is considered the good day for festivity. And many people choose the particular day for their children’s marriage, and for setting up a separate home for them. The wedding Palace gets busy on this day from year to year.
While herders move from summer to autumn pastures, urban residents cover up their ger against cold; get firewood and coal for winter. It is essential to be well-prepared for a cold long-lasting winter in Mongolia where snow may fall any day in autumn
The school year begins on the 1st of September. Children get busy with schooling after a summer break during which they usually stay with parents helping them. For the children of herders, the first of September is not only the start of a new school year; it is also a new life in school. They enter school at age 7 and stay in dormitory away from parents, get homesick and learn to live in concord with others. Probably, that is why many poets and writers have written numerous articles and about autumn, home, parents and grief and joy of life, since many of them were or are born in rural herding families.
The highlight of the season is Whooper Swans. Thousands of swans and other migratory birds journey southward together and have a stopover at Mongolia’s lakes. You can see birds that you never imagined to see in a landlocked country. The great diversity of bird species gathered in Mongolia during this season coupled with serene nature would make you want to check whether you’re dreaming or not.
These months offer the Gobi Marathon, Ganga lake gathering of swans, the Golden Eagle festival, and the “One Day in Mongolia” festival, a realistic glimpse into the life of nomadic people.
Camels seem to be the most fit for cold climate. When winter approaches their humps are full and standing with soft wool fur coat shining in their best colors. Being part of the Camel Festival as a spectator is simply wonderful. The festival organized annually involves contests of camel polo, camel riding, best-trained camels, and more. The event promotes and awards the finest local handcrafted camel riding equipment, tools, wool and dairy products, which are for sale.
“Winter in the Gobi brings snow to the desert and the camels all have their fluffy winter coats on. Everyone was on camels – everyone. . . . There was a bookie taking bets. . . . I just bet on the camel with the most medals! There was also a competition for the best-looking male and female camel. It was -10 degrees, but having just come from the Ice Festival, it felt positively balmy. I had my first gallop on a camel – they have a strange, wobbly gait and I did feel a little seasick. . . . What an amazing experience.“