Naadym is one of the most important and biggest events and national holidays of Tuva, being held over many centuries. Naadym is the national holiday of the nomad, the Tuvan herdsman, whose hard work is respected greatly by the people. Over the centuries the Tuvans’ way of life has been connected with nomadic livestock herding, and these traditions have been preserved up until the present thanks to the region’s remoteness, inaccessibility and distance from large cities.
Every year the kozhuuns (districts) compete among themselves for the right to host this multi-day holiday on their territory. Herders are respected and honored, especially those with 1000 or more animals, the best workers are given awards, and all of this is accompanied by folk celebrations, games, and contests. Competitions are held for the best yurt, best traditional costume and horse-dressing. Competitions in archery, horse races, and Tuvan traditional “Xüresh” wrestling. The strongest wrestlers from Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, all the districts of Tuva and other regions come to Center of Asia in order to compete for the title of of best wrestler. Dressed in traditional wrestling outfits, the wrestlers come to the center of the field, beginning the competition with the traditional “eagle dance.” Grappling with each other, the wrestlers compete with dexterity, strength, and quickness. The first wrestler to touch the ground with anything other than their feet – such as their hand or knee – loses the match.