The Mongols still live today according to ancestral customs and traditions, to the rhythm of their herds of Five Muses, nomadizing according to the seasons in a grandiose and difficult environment. A harsh and rough life, made of humility in the face of the earth, of hospitality in front of the man, and of a great courage in front of this hard environment.
His life is centered around the herd divided into Five Muzzles:
horse, sheep, goat, camel and bovidae.
The yak is not part of this denomination, having been introduced from Tibet to Mongolia several centuries later. The horse is still the pride of every breeder, the cornerstone of Mongolian culture.
The prestige of a man is measured by the number of horses they possess. The mare provides in aïrag, the most popular drink of the Mongols, made from its fermented milk beaten by everyone entering the yurt. Each horse has its own qualities that its master will show: the fast will be drawn for the great race of Naadam; the docile will be the beast of the children; the robust will be a pack horse; the safe foot will keep the goats; the obedient shall lead the flock. Only horses that are not mounted will be consumed by their owner.
Sheep is the basis of every Mongolian herd, and marks the life of all. Its meat is the most consumed; its milk is used in the preparation of most dairy products; its wool dresses both men (del, traditional clothing) as their yurts (the felt). It is also the indigenous local currency!
The goat is more popular in recent years because it is more lucrative; it is from her that one combs the cashmere, a fine end of which one makes warm and very high quality clothes.
Bactrian camels are powerful allies for nomadization, capable of carrying loads of more than 200 kg on migrations of a few hundred kilometers from one to two weeks. It is the animal indispensable to life in the desert.
Bovidae are valued for their milk and meat. As for the yak, its milk is recognized as the most nourishing (because very fat), and its fur very useful. There are, however, more cow-yak crosses, called khaïnag, than yaks themselves. Their meat seems to be too stringy and not very tasty.
These five muzzles do not hold the same place in the hearts of the nomads.
Hot Muzzles are the horses and sheep most beloved of the people, while goats, camels and cattle are called Cold Snout.
The 5 Muses are also divided in a more pragmatic way: short legs are called sheep and goats, which remain to be grazed within a radius of less than 5 km from the yurt, for children and women. The horses, the camels and the cattle are the long legs, guarded by the men, sometimes moving away more than twenty kilometers of the hearth.
The division of labor is relative to the strength demanded by an outdoor life away from material comfort.
The man keeps the Long Legs, leads the flock to drink, takes care of the beasts, puts the horses up, provides the yurt with meat and wood.
The woman trains the animals, takes care of the mothers and children of the herd, cooks, holds the yurt and keeps the children in low ages.
Children take care of short legs when they are old, and help both parents in their respective tasks. Even in the city, small Mongols generally know how to perform all tasks from the age of 8 before entering the classroom. Women think they are more active than men, and do not dislike them.