• Mongolians attach a great deal of importance to their customs, and the guests should be aware of them in advance. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when you are there as a guest:
  • The Mongolian ger's door always faces south.
  • The northern part of the house is the most honorable and sacred part. In the northern part, you will find a lot of the more important and respected items, such as the gods and their offerings, or the prizes and rewards of racehorses, horse-related items, and family photos.
  • The left side of the house is the hostess’ side, and the guests are expected to sit on the right side.
  • As nomadic people, we are very hospitable and welcoming, so visitors and guests are often met with open arms and warm welcomes without the need to notify us in advance or the need to knock on the door.
  • It is very important to not step on the doorstep as you enter the house. It is considered a show of disrespect towards the owner of the ger and is taken as an offense.
  • When you visit a nomadic family, the hostess will treat you to tea, fermented milk, bread, dairy products, etc., and you should always first touch the food with your right hand as a custom.
  • You don't have to finish all the food that is served to you, and it's okay to leave some and return it after you've tasted it. This is considered a show of politeness.
  • It is common for the owner of the house to greet the guests with a traditional "huurug" (snuff bottle), a sort of nose tobacco. The huurug is a tobacco container in the shape of a bottle made out of precious stones with exotic patterns on the surface. The tobacco inside it comes from India, China, and sometimes even Germany. When exchanging or taking the huurug, the head or cap is partially covered and not closed, which is then passed with only the right hand.
  • You should never sit or put your feet on the table.
  • Hats and belts are never placed on the ground.
  • All Mongolians worship and respect mother earth, the water, and the mountains, so it is strictly forbidden to defecate or urinate near rivers, lakes, ponds, mountains, and livestock garrisons. You can’t wash or dispose of your waste and pollute the rivers because rivers are considered sacred providers and the source of life.
  • It’d be great if you could take some sweets with you and give them to the kids of the households you visit. It's a great way to treat them and make them happy.
  • On the way, you will come across a lot of "ovoo’s" (rock piles) along the way. The ovoo’s are a symbol of sacred places, and often their locations hold a deeper meaning. For example, the top of a mountain, the source of a spring, etc. In ancient times, the ovoo was considered a marker to distinguish between two regions, acting as a border. Ovoo is considered a sacred place where the spirit of Mother Nature resides. It is directly tied to the devotion and worship of the Mongolians and their nature. If you come across an ovoo (a rock pile) on the way, you are expected to give tributes and offerings to the ovoo, circle it three times, and wish for the blessings of safe travel. This is done so that the trip may proceed smoothly and soundly.

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