The grassland festival takes place over six weeks in the summer. In 2013 it is earlier, but sometimes it runs mid-August to the end of September.
The festival dates back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and may even have been held prior to that, since the first written record wasn’t made until the Yuan reign.
It was Genghis Khan who made wrestling a national sport in Nei Mongol, as the province is known in China, as a way to keep his army strong.
The word "naadam" means entertainment in the Mongol language; the festival’s full name is Eriyn Gurvan Naadam, which translates as "three manly games", which were horse racing, archery, and wrestling, events that still take place today.
The festival celebrates the end of the harvest season, giving the Mongols a chance to relax and have some fun. Festival activities include traditional folk songs and dancing, as well as exhibitions, trade talks and lots of eating and drinking of traditional Mongolian food and liquors.
The grassland is dotted with yurts that people erect to live in during the festival.