"Coaxing Ritual for Baby Camels" has been inscribed in the UNESCO List of Heritage

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The largest population of Bactrian camel lives in Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Herders in Mongolian Gobi region who face a problem when the female camel unexpectedly rejects her newborn colt after a particularly difficult birth. There is a tradition to coaxing ritual to encourage a female camel to accept a newborn or to adopt an orphan. The mother is tied close to the calf and a singer with traditional musical instrument “Morin huur” or “Horse fiddle” begins a monotone song accompanied by gestures and chanting. The coaxer changes the melody depending on the mother’s behavior, which may be initially aggressive, and slowly coaxes her into accepting the colt. Performance of the ritual takes place at dusk or twilight and requires great skill in handling camels, as well as talent for singing and musical skill on the horse head fiddle. Most herdswomen engage in techniques and methods of coaxing, but professional coaxers may be enlisted to undertake the ritual when a singer or musician is unavailable within the local community. The ritual acts as a symbolic medium for creating and maintaining social ties among individual nomadic families and their community. It is transmitted from parents and elders to youth through home tutoring. Today, motorcycles are preferred to camels as a means of transportation, and increasing migration to urban centers has diminished the number of young herders. The number of cultural bearers is therefore decreasing rapidly as new generations lose touch with their traditional ties to pastoral husbandry.

The coaxing ritual for baby camels appeared on “Story of Weeping Camel” documentary film which was filmed by Luigi Falorni and Byambasuren Davaa and real nomad family was casted on it. After difficult birth of female camel, she reject her newborn white colt. Two boys of nomad family are sent to nearby town across desert to find musician who can perform coaxing ritual for baby camel. Their travel reach to the village and then return home with word that a musician is on the way. Coaxing ritual is performed in an effort to get the mother camel to accept her colt. Uniquely composed of equal parts reality, drama  and magic, this film is a window into a different way of life and the universal terrain of the heart.


This article is only publisher's viewpoint.

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