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Getting Hitched in Mongolia – Local Flavor

After the official service we all followed the bride and groom out to another room for the traditional ceremony. This part was totally unexpected.

Traditional Mongolian Ceremony

Preparing for the traditional Mongolian ceremony.

Anna lighting the fire, signifying the first fire of their marriage.

Everyone chanted and moved their hands in a circular clock-wise direction.

Preparing to give the cup of milk tea to Anna’s father.

Anna’s father with the milk tea.

Anna’s father taking a sip of the milk tea before handing it ceremoniously to Mike.

Mike taking a sip of the milk tea.

Mike offering Anna a sip from the cup.

All the guests now have small cups filled with neat vodka.

Offering Mike a cup of vodka.

Then offering Anna her cup of vodka.

Ready for the toast.

Listening to the toast. Of course the foreigners in the group didn’t understand anything except for Mike who is learning Mongolian. At 11.00 am it was a bit early to down shots of vodka, especially cups of it. Culturally it’s considered polite to accept the cup then take a sip or just a sniff of it before passing it back to the host.

The musician played the morin khuur or horse-head fiddle during the entire length of the ceremony. This is one of the most important traditional musical instruments of the country. The strings are made from horse-tail hair and the top of the neck is carved into the shape of a horse’s head. Empty vodka cups litter the trays on the table in front of him.

At the end of the ceremony after the vodka toast.

Clearing up the empty vodka cups.

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