May 28th, 2013
This Year’s Outfit During the Children’s Day holiday in Mongolia parents will buy new outfits for their children and give them special gifts. Photo © 2012 IMB / Hugh Johnson
MONGOLIA—Kites flutter in the sky and balloons bobble up and down with the eager steps of children dressed in their best clothes heading to the town square to celebrate.
June 1 is Children’s Day, a national holiday in Mongolia that celebrates the gift of sons and daughters. Parents have the day off from work to make Children’s Day special.
It’s like Easter and Christmas rolled into one — parents buy a new outfit for their child and give gifts. Mothers prepare their child’s favorite meal.
Erdenechimeg’s* parents bought her a new dress and took her to a hair salon to get her hair curled. Erdenechimeg lives in Choibalsan, a town in eastern Mongolia.
Her father, Ganbaatar,* is a new believer in Jesus. He became a believer through the ministry of Seth and Sue Walker,* IMB workers who live in Mongolia. Ganbaatar heard about Jesus in a gym that Walker helped opened.
Ganbaatar, who owns a hotel with his in-laws, took the day off to spend with Erdenechimeg. Like most families in the eastern town of Choibalsan, they went to the town square to celebrate.
In Choibalsan, as in towns across Mongolia, the square is alive with color and activity. Dinosaur balloons, Shrek posters and dozens of vendors selling toys all have a place in the square. Children can get a taste for driving by renting miniature electric cars for an hour.
Eight tents around the square each feature different activities. One hosts a quiz competition about traditional Mongolian clothes. The del, traditional dress for men and women, looks like a robe and is made of silk or wool with a belt around the waist. Children can get their photo made wearing dels.
The Gift of Children
Throughout Mongolia, June 1 is Children’s Day, a national holiday that celebrates the gift of sons and daughters.
Photo © 2012 IMB / Hugh Johnson
At another booth, children throw rings onto the heads of plastic horses to win prizes.
A famous Mongolian singer who’s been singing for 50 years performs a song for the children and a TV audience. A group of children perform a choreographed dance to the song “I Will Survive.”
The highlight for many children is the kite-flying competition. Kites made their entry into Mongolia from Japan only a few years ago. Children write their dreams on the kites. They believe flying kites will release dreams.
For the child whose kite flies the highest the longest during a designated time, the governor of Choibalsan will make his or her dream come true.
Most children here in Mongolia don’t know the heavenly Father who holds their futures in the palm of His hand. The children’s parents don’t encourage them to talk to Jesus because they don’t have a relationship with him.
Will you pray for the children of Mongolia? Will you pray they will know they have a heavenly Father who loves them?
Caroline Anderson is a writer based in Asia. For more stories specific to Asia, visit www.asiastories.com.
For more photos of Mongolia’s Children’s Day, visit our Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eastasianpeoples/sets/
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