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WHAT TO DO IN MONGOLIA. 13. TO OFFER STONES TO OVOO

Blog | published: 2019-02-07

13TH THING YOU SHOULD DO IN MONGOLIA IS TO OFFER STONES TO OVOO    

Blue Mongolia Tour agency names the one of the unique things to do in Mongolia is to offer stones to Ovoo.

Ovoo is a sacred stone heap used as offers or shrines in Mongolian ancient shamanic religious practice dedicated to lords of the sky (heaven) and earth (owners of mountains, rivers, lake and forests). They are usually made from rocks with wood.

Ovoos are often found at the top of mountains and in high places, like mountain passes. It looks like a pile of stones.  In modern times, some ovoos are developed into large and elaborate structures, becoming more like Buddhist stupas and small temples. In some part of Mongolia, there are complexes of 13 ovoos, 9 ovoos, 7 ovoos or 3 ovoos.

According to tradition, when someone approaches he or she is to circle it three times always in clockwise, and then add a few rocks to the ever-reaching pile. Usually, rocks are picked up from the ground in lower part of mountain and added to the pile. Also, one may leave offerings in the form of sweets, money, milk, or vodka. If one is in a hurry while traveling and does not have time to stop at an ovoo, that person should pass on the left side of ovoo.

When a person is walking around the ovoo 3 times, he or she always say their wish to be fulfilled. In ancient time people said their wish of having rain and good weather for the their best life. If there are rains a lot in summer time, the lot of vegetation will be produced on the ground and it is a much of reserve for the animals food (sheep, goats, cows). If the animals have much food, the herder life is easy and herder will have food and clothes (animals meat, milk and furs so on). In Chinggis Khan time (13 century) Mongolian people offer stones to ovoo and ask their wish for the victory and glory at the battle. In medieval ages Mongolian people life was more harder because of under Manjurian dictature and Buddhism presented to the nation. Based on this event, Mongolian people said their wish of becoming independent and powerful. In socialist period, it was not allowed to believe in any religion, but people want to keep their tradition, so they keep the offering of stones to ovoo and they expressed their wish to have a nice and safe journey during the driving or traveling. After 1990, the democracy appeared into Mongolia and any religion is accepted and people’s mind and thinking is free, everybody has own rights. Since this time, Mongolian people offers many things to ovoo as a gifts: vodka, milk, tea with milk, rice, candies, biscuits, small pots with medical plants and traditional medicines, tea leaves cubes, khadag- silk materials, flags, insence and juniper branches. In modern time they say their wish of much wealth, good luck and happiness and great health.

In Modern time according to lunar calendar, at the first month of summer local people, Buddhist monks and shamans do religious ceremony to worship the biggest ovoos. When it is a new Year holiday according to lunar calendar, in first spring morning local men hike to the highest places and to reach the ovoo and they offer stones to ovoos and they they greet with the rising sun at the ovoo place. They shouted huraai huraai (hooray) in loud voices and they greet the lords of heaven and earth at the ovoo.

When you are traveling in Mongolia, you will see at least 1 ovoo, so you can try to offer stones to ovoo and say your wish to lords of heaven and earth. It would be nice fun to you. But, Don’t forget to offer 3 stones and walk clockwise 3 times.

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