Mongolian Lunar New Year
Tsagaan Sar is a family festival, which is celebrated on the first day of the lunar new year to put some cheer in the endless winter months and mark the beginning of spring. Tsagaan Sar is the most widely celebrated holiday and it has been celebrated in the traditional way throughout the ages. Family ties are renewed and in particular it is a time to honor the elderly. After the 1921 revolution, many traditions, including Tsagaan Sar, were swept away, but country people clung to their beliefs and fortunately for their culture the remoteness of the Mongolian hinterland protected such traditions. During the communist period, Tsagaan Sar was transformed into the “Spring Festival of Herdsmen” to suit the authorities after collectivization in 1957. Since 1990 it has reverted to its old name.
Tsagaan Sar normally falls on the first day of a spring month, when winter ends. This is January or February on the Gregorian calendar, depending on the phases of the moon and leap year. Celebration of the lunar New Year’s Eve is called ‘bituun’, and in the evening, every family prepares a big meal with lots of fresh food for a feast. A big wrestling match is broadcast live throughout the country.
People ride their best horses during this holiday, prepare new clothes in advance, and we're the most elegant ones. Homes are cleaned up thoroughly on the eve.
In the morning of a New Year, a housewife offers the first cup of tea to gods in all directions. After the sunrise, people start to greet each other. While greeting, they stretch their arms and the younger supports the elbow of the senior (zolgokh). The senior or elder people wish a long and happy life to the young. While exchanging snuff bottles in greeting, people usually talk about how they passed the winter.
During Tsagaan Sar, various ceremonies are inevitable, such as visits to relatives, exchanges of gifts, and lots of eating. Guests are welcomed warmly and are served with tea and food.
In addition to food, hosts give a present to visitors and sweets to children. The ”khadag” is folded in a special way to show trust, as part of the greeting, with the folded edge facing the elder. Mongolians attach a great significance to the first day of a New Year; people perform an “Ovoo” ceremony to thank the god and nature.
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More about Tsagaan Sar Celebrations, then we suggest you to read- Tsagaan Sar Main celebration of Mongols .