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one knows with absolute certainty what the origins of the name Mongolia are. The
name likely comes from the name of a river, a mountain, or is perhaps named after
a former leader named Mugulu, who ruled in the 300s. It may even be derived from
Mongkhe-tengri-gal, which means "eternal sky fire."
Thousands of year ago the people of Mongolia were nomads
who lived off the land and today little has changed. The land and weather in Mongolia
limits what can be grown so the people move with the seasons to get ideal weather
and foods during each season. Additionally, the people have heavily relied on their
livestock to survive day to day and the livestock also need new lands and grasses
to feed on as the seasons change. Due to this the Mongol culture is deeply rooted
in the nomadic lifestyle. Mongol culture is based on an ability to understand the
land, animals, and the flexibility and durability to survive harsh conditions.
The people have also learned to survive and fight against enemies as their borders
moved and their past leader, Genghis Khan, took lands and united the people. Since
the historic mentality of the people was simply survival, fighting others over resources
and land was a daily part of life. Genghis Khan changed that mentality to a degree
as he united the people and they began to realize working together led to greater
progress than fighting; since this time the people have been loosely united, although
self-protection and independence is still a strong aspect of Mongol culture.
The flag of Mongolia contains blue
for the sky and red, which represents progress and prosperity. The flag also contains
the national emblem, which is called soyombo. This emblem includes symbols
for fire, the sun, moon, earth, water, and the yin-yang.
Independence: July 11, 1921
Population: 3,226,516 (2013 estimate)
Language: Khalkha Mongol
Religion: Buddhist Lamaism
Shockingly, little has changed Mongol culture over the past thousand years. Buddhism
is still the dominant religion and Islam is also popular, many people continue to
live in gers, their nomadic homes, and animals continue to be an important
part of their culture and the basis of their diets.
What has changed in recent times is the introduction of technology and infrastructure
as many former nomads are now settling as urbanization is occurring. Roads and transportation
are easily accessible and the cities are growing at the expense of rural life. The
cities today are home to most of the country's jobs as entire areas on the outskirts
of cities are made up of gers. Foreign powers have also become more involved
in local politics and have changed the culture, most particularly the Soviet Union
in the mid-1900s and China in more recent times as a communist
mentality has been introduced.
Despite the changing culture and Mongolia's shift
to industrialization, the people tend to cling to their historic cultural roots
as the people remain humble, modest, and united. Today, modern technology is available
as cars, modern housing, and fast foods are more widely accessible, but not preferred
by the people as many continue to live simple lives as they have in the past.
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