What is Men’s and Soldiers’ Day (Mongolia)?

Introduction

Men’s and Soldiers’ Day (Mongolian: Эр цэргийн баяр, Эрчүүдийн баяр) is a public holiday in Mongolia is celebrated on 18 March annually.

Background

Being the official holiday of the Mongolian Armed Forces, it is the equivalent of Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia and/or the male version of International Women’s Day.

In March 1921, during the early stages of the Mongolian Revolution of 1921, a Mongolian guerrilla army led by Damdin Sükhbaatar as Supreme Commander launched an offensive at the Chinese garrison at Kyakhta Maimaicheng (Altanbulag, Selenge). The offensive followed a failed attempt by the Mongolian People’s Party central committee to reach an ultimatum with Chinese troops. Despite Sükhbaatar’s 400-man army being heavily outnumbered by the Chinese, he led his troops to victory in taking the town.

This event is considered to be the date that gave birth to the modern Mongolian Armed Forces and the preceding Mongolian People’s Army.

The holiday is celebrated in many different ways as it is both a civilian and military holiday. The military side usually conducts promotion and award ceremonies. The Chief of General Staff usually takes part in a wreath laying ceremony on Sükhbaatar Square. The President of Mongolia in his/her position as commander-in-chief usually sends greetings on the holiday, often visiting the country’s National Defence University. Military tattoos are held in the capital of Ulanbaatar as well as gala concerts.

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