The Mongolian Eagle Festival
The Mongolian Golden Eagle Festival is the largest of the Eagle Festivals with over 700 spectators. Note that it is now mostly a tourist event, but there are quite a few locals that go, especially on the second day. It is still very sought after event so if you want to go, let us know as soon as possible. But before you plan to go, you need to understand:
1. Where is the Golden Eagle Festival?
The Golden Eagle festival is held about 8 km southeast of Olgii in Mongolia, in a dry flat area with a heel for the release of the eagles. Location may occasionally change depending on weather or administrative conditions.
2. When does the Mongolian Eagle Festivals happen?
There are usually two - three Golden Eagle festivals running between September and October. Note…the difference between them is the size. Occasionally, and Eagle Festival takes also place in March.
3. The Entry fee for Golden Eagle Festival
The entry fee for the festival for both days is $30 USD, which can paid in Tugrik or USD. Since the festival is run by a private entity, the price may change.
4. Cold Weather at the Mongolian Eagle festivals
The Golden Eagle festival can get very cold, windy or even snow a bit and because the festival involves a lot of standing around, you will feel frosty by the end of the day. So ensure you bring lots of warm clothes.
5. Handmade Souvenirs at the Eagle festivals
There is beautiful handicraft stalls set-up by women in the province, so it is a great place to buy some amazing handmade souvenirs from the actual people who made them. Fancy that!
6. Food and snacks
There are a bunch of small stalls that sell snacks and a few places to retreat from the cold for some hot tea and also a few small kebab stalls.
7. Dates for the Mongolia Golden Eagle Festival
The largest and the oldest of the Eagle Festival takes place annually on the first weekend of October. Two other smaller events occur in September but their dates change quite frequently and must be confirmed every year. So is the March festival. Still, the small-scale events are worth going an extra mile. They are less touristy and have a more intimate atmosphere granting better access to eagle hunters.
8. Competitions at the Mongolian festivals.
These festivals are a true test of the eagle’s skills; it's master’s concentration and the unbreakable bond formed between them for the many years they have hunted together.
9. Festival Awards for the majestic eagles.
A variety of awards are usually on offer so prepare for a breath-taking sight to see the competition kicking and the majestic eagles perched on the arm of the Kazakhs dressed in full traditional costume.
10. Advance ticket booking for Mongolian Golden Eagle Festivals
Tickets for festival are intensely sought for and an individual traveler has hardly any chances in securing one. Our tours with an itinerary that covers the festival, will obviously arrange the ticket for you.
11. Eagle Festival Photography
Always ask for permission before taking close-up photos of any of the participants or locals. Granted permission, you will have the chance to take amazing cultural photos to carry with you very beautiful memories.
12. Releasing eagles to the wild for eagle hunters
If you're lucky you may encounter this amazing ceremony where some of the eagles are released back into the wild. This is usually an emotional moment as the hunters have a hard time letting go of the bond, that they have created with the eagle.
13. Eagle hunting at the Mongolian Golden Eagle Festival
Note well, that although the festival pays tribute to a hunting tradition, no actual hunting takes place as some websites may state.
Finally - The Eagle Festival is featured in the 2016 documentary The Eagle Huntress, in which the 13-year-old Kazakh girl Aisholpan becomes the first female to enter and win the competition. Watch it and learn even more about the festival. Let us know soon, though, if you want to book in 2021