Mongolian Superstitions – Don’t Go Star Gazing!

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Mongolian Superstitions

Prior to our guests arriving in Mongolia we encourage them to learn and understand some of Mongolia’s traditions and customs. We produce our own informal guide which we provide to our guests as we believe that understanding Mongolia’s customs and traditions will help them to connect with Mongolia as a country and Mongolian people on a more personal level. Included in that guide is a section on Mongolian superstitions because although Mongolia may be fully embracing the 21t Century, traditions and superstitions remain an important part of everyday life

Mongolia is known as the ‘Land of the Eternal Blue Sky.’ Not only because of its 260 blue sky days on average per year but also in connection with the ancient practise of shamanism – the worshipping of the Eternal Blue Sky (Tenger) and the myriad spiritual forces of nature. These shamanistic beliefs along with Mongolia’s Buddhist beliefs are said to be origin for some of its superstitions. No matter the origin, these superstitions are unwritten rules that live in the mind of nearly every Mongolian – including the Eternal Landscapes team. Here are some of the Mongolian superstitions and customs that have made it into our guide.

On The Road

When travelling, never make a joke about the possibility of breaking down or having a flat tyre. Misfortune might be attracted by talking in such a negative manner. Never ask how many hours the drive will take as this may influence and bring bad luck on the journey.

Russian 4x4 van in our guide to Mongolian Superstitions

Image: EL guest Mick Egan

When With People

  • If you’re sitting with your legs outstretched, bring them in rather than let people walk over them. Try not to point your feet towards other people or important items such as the fire or family altar. Although there is no definite reason, it is believed that the head is the most sacred part of the body so the feet must be the dirtiest. ​
  • Try not to touch a hat belonging to someone else. A hat should not be placed on the floor as it is an honoured possession and a very personal item.
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Try not to touch someone with your foot. The thinking behind this is that you have invaded their social space and you may create bad feelings. If you do touch someone’s foot, you can balance this out by shaking that person’s hand so that they know you did not mean it. The same applies everywhere in Mongolia – whether that be on a bus, in a bar or a ger. ​

Inside A Mongolian Ger

Within the ger, the two supports in the centre of the ger provide stability to the ger. Tradition forbids passing anything through them or leaning against them. Don’t put rubbish directly onto the fire in the stove – fire is sacred.

Ger Interior Mongolia - part of our guide to Mongolian superstitions

Image: EL guest Severine.B

Shooting Stars

Night sky in our guide to Mongolian Superstitions

Image: EL guest Kairi Aun

If you see a shooting star in Mongolia, never point to it or mention it as it is considered an omen of death (yes, really). In shamanistic terms, each star represents a person. We each have an energy line and a shooting star is a person’s energy line dying out, representing that person’s death. If a Mongolian sees a shooting star, they spit and say ‘it’s not mine.’

If you’re interested in finding out more about Mongolia, why not look at our brief guide to Mongolia’s country profile on our Eternal Landscapes website?

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