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What is a Mongolian Ger and Traditions?

What is a Mongolian Ger?

Gers have been a distinctive feature of life in Central Asia for at least three thousand years. A Ger is our traditional round shaped dwelling that has been used since the Mongols started nomadic life with animal husbandry. In essence – it’s their home. Ger is portable, easily assembled and disassembled, and the most natural dwelling on earth. A ger consists of felt covers, wooden columns, and a round window at the top, thin wooden poles and floor, wall (wooden lattice attached together with animal hide, ropes) and ropes. Most of ger materials are made of animals like felt- sheep wool, ropes- camel or sheep wool, horse or yak’s tail, and of course wood.

Things to Know About Mongolian Gers

A Mongolian ger is the same as a Russian yurt.

There is one door and no windows.  Doors normally are intricately painted in orange or blue and they are always facing south.

When entering a ger, always step left and walk through it clockwise and never pass between the two central pillars.

Mongolian families live in these nomadic tents across Mongolia.  Often large families will all live in the one small ger.

Often families will set up their gers close together and a family will all live within a few km of each other as they all rely on each other in the harsh environment they live in.

Each ger has a stove in the middle with a ‘chimney’ poking out of the top.  This stove serves as a heat source and a kitchen.  If they want to cool the ger down, they simply roll up the felt at the bottom and let the air blow through the bottom of the ger cooling it immediately!

The whole family live/sleeps/eats inside the tent with no privacy.  There are no walls, or places to escape to.

Two or three times a year the family takes down the ger, places everything they own on a truck and move about 5 to 13 km and sets up the tent again.  This used to be done on Mongolian horses, but with trucks, and motorbikes, it does make the process a little easier.

For more Mongolian customs in gers and in interaction  – check out this thorough list!

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