Zhelimu Horse-racing Festival

The city of Tongliao boasts hundreds of thousands of the best Mongolian horses, leading to the development of traditional Mongolian horse-racing on the Ke'rqin Grassland.

The annual Zhelimu Horseracing Festival is held each August 18, and attracts crowds of people from various ethnic groups and hometowns near and far. Pigeons are set loose at the opening ceremony, symbolizing peace. Girls present guests with white Hada. Main activities include horse harnessing and racing, wrestling, and a stones sacrificing ceremony.

The races aren't held on a track, but rather right on the steppes, where riders must deal with obstacles like rivers, ravines and hills. Riders wear ornate traditional costumes and ride distances that vary according to the age of their horse, from 15-35 km. Winners do a victory lap around the stadium, accompanied by a herald. The winning horse receives the honorary title, "Forehead of Ten Thousand Race Horse," and five runner-ups receive medals. Losers are also honored.

The festival is also an opportunity for trade, and attracts business people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mongolia, Japan´╝îFrance, Canada, the US, and the ROK.