Buriad and Pagam Goat milking 1

Buriad’s Ail Buyant Gol Mongolia 1993

I was looked after with great hospitality at Gereltsogt and Ganbold’s relatives.

Their sister Pagam and her husband Buriad was where I stayed. Their gers were by the Buyant Gol not far from Khovd town. They, all their family and most of the people I met with them spoke no English and my Mongolian was just a few words and to say what is that?. It was fun and a great body language learning experience being with them.

I had my letters from Gereltsogt so they knew what my aim was. While they were trying to arrange for me to go to Chandman’ Sum I was taken to their relatives, friends and entertained them with my circular breathing on two flutes, my anglii Khöömii and general joining in with their everday life. This including my inept attempt to milk the goats in the morning. 
Buriads brother's ger in Khovd Town
 We visited a Buddhist monk  (In the purple above) who had recently put on his robes again, my photos of H.H. the Dalai Lama proved very welcome and this was an ideal present for him. He blessed us with incense, prayer and his damar (small pellet drum).
          A new temple, Shar Sum had been build about 3 or 4 kilometres outside Khovd where the old monastery may have been. We travelled there but it was deserted and locked up. Later we found out that the monks had gone to UB for the summer.
          In the late 1930’s most of the monasteries and temples, maybe over 800 were destroyed by the Mongolian Communist Purges. Countless monks were killed, others were put into prison, became herdsmen or escaped to Inner Mongolia in China. Brian Barron of the BBC made a great documentary about this for the BBC in 1991, The Secrets of the Steppes https://vimeo.com/43755892
Buriat and pagam grandchildren's hair cutting ceremony
Buriad and Pagam’s grandchildren’s hair cutting ceremony, Buyant Gol Mongolia 1993. This seemed to be very important for the family as they spent a lot of time and effort putting it on. The night before there was much preparation and perspiration, including tempers raised (especially by the mother and father pictured furthest right)  just like a wedding where familes try  to get everything right on the day. Each of the many people, maybe over thirty would cut a small piece of hair from the child with scissors attached to a blue silk scarf or khadag. The hair was then collected in the scarf. We all gave a small present. There was a Yeröölch, or wish-prayer specialist who sang/spook/exclaimed blessings which I did not understand. Then came the feast and singing. Toasting was important and the person or toasted would sing a song which then all would join in. There were folk songs and Urtyn duu or Long songs wich were sung with full force. I just joined in as well. I played my flutes and sang some of my overtone singing. The celebrations went on all day. During the time I was at Buriad’s, other guests would come the next day or a few days after and cut some hair. What an ordeal fro the children.
Buyant Gol Aarshan
Buyant Gol Inscriptions by arshaan
One day, Buraid took me on his motorbike to a Bogd Arshan (Sacred spring) about two kilometres for his ger. He said a prayer and filled up a canister of water for all his family to be blessed with. Nearby were some rocks with Buddhist prayers etched onto them.