Competitions at the Nadaam Festival help preserve Mongolian culture. These traditional tournaments feature warrior-oriented activities such as wrestling, archery, and horse racing which are the most popular sports. Competitors are usually male, but some women take part in the games and accompanying ceremonies. The annual wrestling championships are enthusiastically followed throughout the country. Boxing, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and table tennis are also enjoyed.
Leisure activities include visiting family and friends, watching television, going to the cinema, and, especially in summer, making outings to the countryside. Saturday is a favorite day for picnics, and some people own small summer wooden houses in the hills around the capital. Traditional songs are often sung at weddings or family gatherings, modern folk song concerts and comedy shows in Ulaanbaatar draw large audiences, and storytelling is a popular tradition. Traditional dance and music performances, classic and national operas, ballet and circus are main evening entertainments offered to tourists.
More modern entertainment such as rock concerts are increasingly popular among young people.
Public holidays include:
New Year’s Day -1 January;
Tsagaan Sar (White Month) – (9-11 February 2005) the lunar New Year, celebrated on the first two days of the first lunar month, usually comes in February, marked by family gatherings. It is preceded by days of house cleaning
Women’s Day - 8 March;
Children’s Day – 1 June
Naadam - 11–13 July, when a huge festival featuring sports and music attracts Mongolians from all the country;
Independence Day - 26 November.