Is it True It’s Good Luck in Mongolia to Start a Journey Turning Right?

In Mongolia, there is a belief that starting a journey by turning right brings good luck. This belief is deeply rooted in the country’s cultural traditions and superstitions. According to local customs, when embarking on a journey, whether it’s a long distance or a short trip, it is considered auspicious to make a right turn at the beginning. This symbolic gesture is believed to ward off evil spirits and ensure a safe and successful journey. While there may not be a concrete explanation for why turning right is associated with good luck, it is regarded as a longstanding tradition in Mongolian culture.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mongolian traditions include the belief that starting a journey by turning right brings good luck.
  • This symbolic gesture is believed to ward off evil spirits and ensure a safe and successful journey.
  • This tradition is deeply rooted in Mongolian culture and has been passed down through generations.
  • Understanding and embracing Mongolian traditions can enhance the cultural experience when traveling in Mongolia.
  • Exploring the unique customs and beliefs of different cultures can broaden one’s perspective on the world.

Mongolian Customs and Etiquette

In Mongolia, cultural beliefs and traditional customs play a significant role in shaping daily life and social interactions. From greetings to gestures, Mongolians place great importance on showing respect and following proper etiquette.

Greetings and Respect

When meeting someone for the first time or visiting someone’s home, it is customary to greet them warmly, shake hands, and exchange pleasantries. This initial interaction sets the tone for the relationship and demonstrates respect for the other person.

“Mongolians place great importance on showing respect to others, using their right hand to accept or give something, and avoiding actions that may be considered impolite.”

Mongolians use their right hand to accept or give something as it is considered more respectful. Pointing with the index finger or touching someone’s head are actions that should be avoided as they may be considered impolite. Respecting elders is also highly valued in Mongolian culture, and it is customary to show deference and seek their wisdom and guidance.

Entering a Ger and Social Interactions

A unique aspect of Mongolian culture is the traditional dwelling known as a ger. When entering a ger, it is customary to step over the threshold with the right foot first and greet the occupants. The right side of the ger is considered the more honorable side, and guests are typically seated on this side.

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“Mongolians have specific customs that dictate appropriate behavior when entering a ger and engaging in social interactions.”

In social settings, it is important to observe proper etiquette. Mongolians appreciate modesty and humility, and it is considered impolite to brag or draw attention to oneself. Additionally, engaging in conversation and small talk is valued, as it allows people to build relationships and establish a sense of camaraderie.

Mongolian Customs and Etiquette Do’s Don’ts
Greetings Shake hands, exchange pleasantries Point with index finger, touch someone’s head
Entering a Ger Step over the threshold with right foot first Step over the threshold with left foot first
Social Interactions Engage in conversation, show modesty Brag, draw attention to oneself

Mongolian Festivals and Celebrations

Festivals and celebrations are an essential part of Mongolian culture, providing an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate their traditions. Naadam, the country’s national festival, is a major event that showcases the “Three Manly Games” of wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Participating in these festivities is a way to honor Mongolian heritage and connect with the community.

“Mongolian festivals and celebrations bring people together and provide an opportunity to honor traditions and connect with the community.”

During these celebrations, Mongolians wear traditional clothing, such as the deel, a loose-fitting garment, and engage in traditional dances and music performances. The colorful and vibrant atmosphere reflects the rich cultural heritage of Mongolia.

Mongolian customs and etiquette are deeply rooted in respect, humility, and a strong sense of community. By appreciating and observing these traditions, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of Mongolian culture and forge meaningful connections with the local people.

Symbolic Gestures and Colors in Mongolian Culture

In Mongolian culture, symbolic gestures and colors hold deep significance and are believed to bring luck and positive energy. Understanding these traditions can provide valuable insights into the rich cultural heritage of Mongolia.

The Power of Symbolic Gestures

Symbolic gestures play a prominent role in Mongolian culture and are associated with luck and protection. One such gesture is making clockwise movements, which are believed to bring positive energy and ward off evil spirits. For example, when entering a ger, the traditional Mongolian dwelling, it is customary to move in a clockwise direction, emphasizing the belief in the eternal movement of life. Similarly, stirring tea in a specific direction, usually clockwise, is thought to bring good fortune.

The Colors of Life

In Mongolian culture, colors carry symbolic meanings and are closely linked to various aspects of life. The five basic colors – blue, green, white, red, and yellow – represent different concepts. Blue symbolizes eternity and the vast sky, while green signifies wisdom and knowledge. White represents purity and cleanliness, red symbolizes prosperity and success, and yellow is associated with religion and spirituality. These colors are often incorporated into ceremonial scarves, worn during important occasions, and used in Buddhist temples and monasteries.

Reflecting Symbolism in Art and Design

Mongolian art and design exhibit intricate patterns and ornaments that reflect the country’s cultural symbolism. Traditional furniture and articles are adorned with meaningful motifs, each carrying its own symbolic significance. These intricate designs often depict the eternal movement of life, the interconnectedness of nature and spirituality, and the quest for inner balance and harmony. By appreciating and understanding these symbolic elements, one can gain a deeper appreciation for the artistic traditions of Mongolia.

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lucky rituals in Mongolian culture

Symbolic gestures and colors are an integral part of Mongolian culture, representing its rich history, spirituality, and deep connection to nature. By embracing these traditions, visitors can immerse themselves in the essence of Mongolia and gain a better understanding of its people and customs.

Mongolian Spiritual Beliefs and Rituals

Spirituality and religion play a significant role in Mongolian culture, with shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism being the main practices. These beliefs are deeply rooted in the country’s history and traditions, shaping the way Mongolians perceive and interact with the world around them. It is fascinating to explore the spiritual customs and rituals that form an integral part of everyday life in Mongolia.

Shamanism, which predates Buddhism in Mongolia, involves the belief in spirits and the ability of shamans to communicate with these entities. Shamans act as spiritual intermediaries, performing rituals and ceremonies to heal the sick, communicate with ancestors, and ensure the well-being of the community. They are highly respected and play a crucial role in maintaining the balance between the physical and spiritual realms.

Tibetan Buddhism, introduced to Mongolia in the 16th century, has deeply influenced the country’s religious practices. Monasteries and temples serve as the centers of Buddhist worship, with monks and nuns devoting their lives to the study and practice of Buddhism. Walking clockwise around stupas, spinning prayer wheels, and making offerings are common rituals performed by Buddhist practitioners to accumulate merits and cultivate compassion.

Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism: A Harmonious Coexistence

In Mongolia, shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism coexist harmoniously, with many individuals practicing both faiths simultaneously. This unique blend of spiritual traditions is a testament to the tolerant and inclusive nature of Mongolian culture. Mongolians believe that both shamanism and Buddhism offer different paths to achieving spiritual enlightenment and can complement each other in their quest for a meaningful existence.

“Shamanism and Buddhism are like two wings of a bird, both essential for the journey towards spiritual awakening.” – Mongolian proverb.

Visitors to Mongolia have the opportunity to witness and participate in various spiritual rituals and events. From attending Buddhist ceremonies in monasteries to witnessing shamanic rituals in the wilderness, these experiences provide a deeper understanding of Mongolian spirituality and its profound impact on the lives of the people.

Rituals Description
Walking around stupas Devotees walk clockwise around stupas, rotating prayer wheels and reciting mantras to accumulate positive karma and blessings.
Offerings at Ovoos Ovoos are sacred altars adorned with blue prayer flags. Mongolians make offerings of milk, vodka, and food to the spirits to seek their protection and guidance. Travelers are encouraged to respect these altars and avoid removing or damaging the offerings.
Burning juniper Burning juniper is a common practice to cleanse the environment and ward off negative energy. It is believed that the smoke from the juniper purifies and blesses the surroundings.
Chanting and meditation Monks and nuns engage in daily chanting and meditation practices, focusing on mindfulness and achieving a state of inner peace.
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Mongolia’s spiritual beliefs and rituals provide a unique insight into the country’s culture and way of life. They demonstrate the deep connection that Mongolians have with the spiritual realm and their profound respect for nature and the unseen forces around them. By immersing yourself in these spiritual practices, you can gain a profound appreciation for Mongolia’s rich cultural heritage and the spiritual values that shape the lives of its people.

Mongolian spiritual rituals


Mongolia is a country rich in cultural traditions, beliefs, and customs that offer a unique glimpse into its history and way of life. From the fascinating belief in turning right at the beginning of a journey for good luck to the symbolic gestures, colors, and rituals woven into everyday activities, Mongolian culture is deeply rooted in spirituality and respect.

By embracing and understanding these traditions, you not only show appreciation for Mongolia’s heritage but also forge meaningful connections with the local people. Immersing yourself in Mongolian culture through travel allows for an unforgettable and immersive experience that goes beyond simply visiting the country.

From the moment you step foot in Mongolia, you’ll be captivated by the customs and etiquette that shape interactions. Warm greetings, respect for elders, and understanding social etiquettes are all integral parts of Mongolian society. As you navigate through their customs, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Mongolia’s history and values.

Whether it’s the symbolic meaning of colors, the spiritual beliefs and rituals practiced, or the social etiquettes followed, Mongolian traditions permeate all aspects of life. By embracing these customs with an open mind and heart, your journey in Mongolia will be one filled with enriching experiences and lasting memories.


Is it true that it’s good luck in Mongolia to start a journey by turning right?

Yes, according to Mongolian traditions and superstitions, starting a journey by turning right is believed to bring good luck.

What are some customs and etiquette in Mongolian culture?

Mongolians place importance on greetings, respect, and using their right hand for giving and receiving. They also avoid impolite actions such as pointing with the index finger or touching someone’s head.

Do symbolic gestures and colors hold significance in Mongolian culture?

Yes, clockwise movements and specific colors such as blue, green, white, red, and yellow are considered lucky and hold symbolic meaning in Mongolian culture.

What are some spiritual beliefs and rituals in Mongolia?

Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism are the main religions practiced in Mongolia, and followers engage in ceremonies such as walking clockwise around stupas and making offerings to spirits at sacred altars called “Ovoos.”

How should visitors observe social etiquette and politeness in Mongolia?

It is customary to bring a gift when visiting someone’s home and to show respect to elders. Other etiquettes include observing seating arrangements, eating customs, and drinking customs.

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My name is Sandra, and I am the head content creator of We created this website to share our thoughts and experiences on the topic of luck and to explore the many different ways people think about and talk about luck in their lives.

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