Words + Pictures
Chingas Khan's Birthday
Today is Chingas Khan's 850th birthday, a national holiday here in Mongolia. Schools and businesses are closed, and we have had the day off. I used the morning to catch up on some grading and had planned to work on another notebook in the afternoon. But on my way to the square to get my daily photos I was met by a large celebration. It took a while before I ran into some people I know who could explain that on this day every year new recruits are inducted into the army. Although it is a peaceful country now, celebrating the renewal of the present Mongolian army on the great conqueror's birthday provides a reminder that this was not always the case.
Reading the news from home, I can't help another observation as we are pulled into scandal about one of our own generals and his paramour—even though I realize the story only begins there. A study in this article
notes the various ways that Ghengis Khan came to have as many as sixteen million genetic descendants today. 850 years is enough time for the details surrounding these offspring to be forgotten here in Mongolia, though the memory is still clear in other parts of the world.