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The Mongols of the Gobi Desert
Transcript of The Mongols of the Gobi Desert
• The Gobi is Asia's largest desert.
• It stretches nearly 1,000 miles east and west and nearly 5,000 miles north and south across large parts of Mongolia and China.
• It covers 500,000 square miles.
• Mongolian nomads move around to find pasture for their animals.
• It’s not easy in the extreme Gobi weather- the nomads have to settle before the snow does.
• The Mongolian nomads live in the rocky Gobi desert.
• The Gobi often has long heat waves in summer and cold periods in winter.
• The temperature can reach 113 °F (45 °C) in summer. In winter, it can drop to –40 °F (–40 °C).
• Most of the desert receives less than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of precipitation annually.
• The Gobi is a cold desert, with frost and occasionally snow occurring on its dunes
The Mongols of the Gobi Desert are semi nomadic
They live in circular tents known as gers.
These are made of many layers of felt, fur and skin stretched over a timber frame.
The gers are made by beating and rolling wet sheep fleece.
In the inside of the ger is decorated with brightly coloured rugs.
The ger can be put up in half and hour and taken down in about fifteen minutes.
Originally the gers were moved from place to place with the group, but many groups are set up permanent settlements.
The biggest tribal group in the Gobi desert are the Khalkha Mongols, who's mainly Bactrian camels also sheep and goats
Bactrian camels can carry 200 kilograms over long distances in extreme weather conditions.
They provide transport, meat, milk, wool, hides for tents and dung for fuel.
Agriculture and Food
The Gobi desert, one of the world's great deserts
It covers much of the southern part of Mongolia.
Unlike the Sahara there are few sand dunes in the Gobi; rather you'll find large barren expenses of gravel plains and rocky outcrops
This is one of the few areas of sand dune formations.
Up to 200m tall and many km long,
The Khongoryn Els are a popular tourist destination.
The most common lifestock in the Gobi is the cashmere goat. These goats, raised for their very fine hair, thrive in the harsh climate.
Ekhiingol is a small, isolated oasis in the Southern Gobi, surrounded by barren desert. About 20 families remain here grow tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, peppers and some fruit, which are sold locally.
One Hundred Trees Oasis:
This small oasis on the northern edge of the Gobi desert provides food and drinking water for herders and their livestock. The saxaul "forest" in the background is characteristic of the Gobi.
There are lots of fascinating animals in the Gobi Desert for example:
The Jerboa a small rodent, similar to a mouse, is a mammal living in deep burrows. Having long rear legs and tail, this animal hops around and is known to jump up to 10 feet.
Inhabiting the higher mountain ridges of the desert, the snow leopard. It can be commonly found on the Eastern Gobi desert steppe. The thick, lush light-colored fur acts as a camouflage for this mammal, while hunting. In times of food scarcity it may hunt on livestock living on the slopes, so is a threat to farmers and herdsmen.
The Mongols were nomads. They traveled in small groups composed of perhaps only two or three families. They used camels and oxen and carts to travel.
Their homes, called yurts, were odd looking, portable, and very comfortable. These people received their nickname - the felt tent people - from their unusual homes.
Their clothing was very colorful, and their food just the opposite - they are famous for white food and salty tea.
From a very early age, kids were taught to respect their parents. They were taught survival skills - how to collect dry animal dung for firewood, how to milk cattle, how to use a bow and arrow, and how to cook and sew.
The most important things Mongol parents taught their children had to do with behavior. Everything they did, including the toys they gave their children, and the stories they told, were designed to teach their children to be ethical, honest, and skilled - to have good behavior.
Nomadic families follow a seasonal routine, moving the herds to new grazing land based on the time of year, rather than one of aimless wandering. Historically, each clan had various chosen grazing grounds that were used exclusively by the same clan year after year.
This tradition carries on today and families return to the same locations at the same time each year, for example, traveling at the end of each winter from a specific sheltered valley to a particular grazing area on the steppes.
Daily responsibilities are divided evenly among family members and no one person's work is considered more important than another's.
Traditionally, men take care of the horses arid, the herds and make saddles, harnesses, and weapons. In addition, they hunt to supplement the traditional diet of dairy products.
Women also milk cows, goats and mares they also cook, take care of the children and make clothing.
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Cultural Influences & Rituals
• Mongol culture is strongly influenced by Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism and China.
• Mongols believe in good and bad omens
• Misfortune might be attracted by talking about negative things or about people, or even being sent by a shaman after breaking some taboo.
• Since the most endangered family members from omens were children, they were given non-names like Nergui (without name) or Enebish (not this one
• boys would be made to dress up as girls
• Before going out at night, young children’s faces were sometimes painted with charcoal or soot to deceive evil spirits and make them think that the child is actually a rabbit with black hair on its forehead.
• When passing ovoos on a journey, Mongols often walk around it and sweets or something or sacrificed for a safe journey
• Certain ovoos, especially ones on high mountains, are sacrificed to in order to do things like obtain good weather and ward off misfortune and bad luck.
• For children, first big celebration is their first haircut, which is usually done at an age between 3 and 5 years old.
• Birthdays were not traditionally celebrated but in modern times, birthdays are popular
• Wedding ceremonies traditionally include the handing over of a new ger to the marrying couple
• Deceased relatives were usually put to rest in the open where it would be eaten by animals but nowadays are buried.
• Traditional Mongolian folk music is influenced by a large variety of tribes, including Turkish tribes
• nomad shepherds of Mongolia played many string and wind instruments
• e.g. Hel khuur (Jew’s harp), Tsuur (wind instrument) and Surnai-ever buree (wind instrument
• only played percussion instruments with Shamanism and Buddhism, as well as a dance called the Tsam dance.
• also sing
• one of the most common vocal features was Khöömij, or guttural singing
• used a special technique called throat singing, where they sang two notes simultaneously, one note low and drone-like and the other a flute-like harmonic note
• usually throat sing at social events and eating or drinking parties.
Environmental influences of the desert on their lives
• Gobi desert is where thousands of nomadic herders live.
• The herders take care of animals such as goats and camels.
• rely heavily on their livestock as well as the wild resources in the environment for all their needs.
The environment these herders live in are under some threats, such as-
• limited natural freshwater resources in some areas
• deforestation, overgrazing, and the converting of virgin land to agricultural production have increased soil erosion from wind and rain
• mining activities have had a deleterious effect on the environment
• Mongols have been trying to conserve water, manage over-grazing by their herds and managing their waste more effectively as their environment these many different threats.