The Year of the Horse is about to begin. More precisely, the Lunar New Year is starting this Friday, January 31. In Mongolia, it will be the “Year of the Blue Horse”, or the “Wooden Horse”, or even the Year of the “Joyous Blue Wooden Horse”, depending on what source one consults.
There is a cycle of 12 years, with 12 different animals, including the mouse (1), cattle (2), tiger (3), hare/rabbit (4), dragon (5), snake (6), horse (7), sheep (8), monkey (9), fowl (10), dog (11) and pig (12).
Why is it the “Year of the Blue Horse”?
How You can Determine what Year it is in Mongolia
How is it determined which year it is? According to one source here is how you can do it, by using the numbers listed above and the table provided below.
Step 2: Divide the same number by 12, and match the remaining number with the animal’s number as given above.
Let’s do it for 2014:
Step 1: 2014-3=2011. The last digit is 1, therefore the element is wood, and the color is blue (see table).
Step 2: 2014 divided by 12 equals 167.58. Or, 12×167 =2004, and the remaining number (2011-2004=7) is 7. And 7 is the number for the horse.
Voila! – the Year of the Blue/Wooden Horse.
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Check the Traditional Mongolian Calendar
It seems easy with these steps, but this is all I can share. To learn more, it will be best you come to Mongolia and learn from the experts. It is very common that herders, and other households as well, have a traditional Mongolian calendar always at hand to determine whether a day is particularly good, or bad, for certain activities – be it the beginning of a journey, getting a hair-cut, or getting married, or many other things, – even gelding horses. The latter we learnt from Yadmaa, the herder looking after the Stone Horse herd and the host, with his wife Davaasuren, of the ger stay.
App for iPhone of the Mongolian Traditional Calendar
Needless to say, there is an app for iPhones and iPads, to have the Traditional Mongolian Calendar always handy. You can download it here, and at other sites.
You may be surprised, if your idea of Mongolian herders is that of nomads living a traditional life. And that’s true, but at the same time they are very modern, and communications and information are particularly important, to get weather forecasts, information on commodity prices, news and entertainment. The number of cell phones per capita is very high in Mongolia, and network coverage is ever expanding. In many gers you can see a mobile phone hanging way up in the highest spot for reception. And in areas with sketchy reception, locals will know the spots. High spots are of course good, and it is only a few years ago that we would have to ride up to the top of a nearby mountain to make a phone call from our staging area in the Darkhid Valley outside the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.
In some spots, it’s enough to stand on your horse, or car. Or – and this is a trick to be practiced first – type your sms message and quickly throw the phone as high as you can. It works if done right – and you want to be a good catcher also!
Solar and Wind Energy in the Land of the Blue Sky
You will see many ingenious ways in Mongolia of utilizing modern technology. Nomadic herder families in Mongolia are probably the most prolific users worldwide, per capita, of solar energy, and the Government of Mongolia is actively supporting this. Today, almost every ger in the Mongolian steppes has solar power, battery and satellite dish so the family has TV, radio, light – and a cell phone charger. Even solar powered freezers, and other appliances are becoming more common. Small wind generators are another alternative energy source used by herder households in Mongolia’s rural areas. Apart from household level use of sun and wind energy, large scale wind farm and photovoltaic projects are being planned or underway in the Gobi desert. With over 300 days of sunshine annually, the land of the blue sky has excellent opportunities to develop alternative energy sources.
Plan Your Trail Ride in Mongolia in the Year of the Horse
For Your equestrian ecotourism adventure in Mongolia in the Year of the Horse contact Stone Horse Expeditions & Travel now!