Woody Packard

Words + Pictures

Mongolian Halloween

You may be surprised that we celebrated Halloween here yesterday. I certainly was when I got my invitation to the Chinese/English department's annual party. Halloween is not a holiday that is usually recognized in Mongolia, a fact that I was very conscious of as I walked across the main square in broad daylight dressed as a cow. But in the Chinese/English department, it is a way to explain a little bit of American culture to students of English. (Really, how else would you explain it?) Aside from doing a good job of dressing up like Americans, it was an opportunity to perform, as each class put on a dance or sang. In between there were competitions. Stack the nuts with a chopstick, random couples assigned an animal to imitate in the process of mate selection, and my favorite, stick the card in the watermelon. A watermelon is cut in half, each half is set on a table so that the red side faces the contestants, who flip playing cards at it in an attempt to stick them into the flesh. The team that gets all its players to stick a card first wins.

Although there was a costume competition, I did not win it. The faculty nominated me from their table without entirely thinking things through. The prize went to the best horror costume, which I realized after I had ambled my way around the hall, bobbing my head as I have been observing the cows here do. It was just not all that scary. All was not lost though, for I did win a prize for the best imitation of Charlie Chaplin.

The Russian/English department has their party next Wednesday night. Judy has expressed an interest in borrowing the cow costume. Stay tuned.

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Mongolian Halloween

Upperclass Men

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Women are a strong majority in the Chinese/English department. These two are going against the trend.